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Understanding the Role of Negligence in a Car Accident

Posted on in Car Accidents

Lake County Personal Injury AttorneyAlmost every personal injury claim hinges on the concept of negligence. In order for an injured person to collect compensation for damages related to an accident, they will most likely need to provide evidence that shows that the accident was caused by another party’s negligence. 

It can often be hard to know exactly what type of behavior constitutes negligence. Sometimes, experts like doctors, accident reconstructionists, civil engineers, or law enforcement officers will need to weigh in on a personal injury case to help prove negligence. Eyewitnesses to the accident may also provide valuable insight when it comes to showing how negligence contributed to the claimant’s injuries.

Defining Negligence

A person acts negligently if he or she behaves in such a way that a reasonably cautious person would not. This can include negligent acts as well as negligent failure to act. In most personal injury claims, the negligent party owed some type of duty to the injured person. For example, anyone driving on public roadways has a “duty of care” to drive safely and obey traffic laws. Typically, there are four elements which must be demonstrated in order to prove that a party acted negligently:

  • The defendant owed the claimant a duty of care.
  • The defendant breached this duty.
  • The claimant’s injuries, or death in the case of a wrongful death claim, were directly caused by the defendant’s breach of duty.
  • The claimant suffered damages as a result of the injuries.

Negligence Per Se

There are some situations in which negligence is automatically assumed. If a party breaks the law and causes another person to be injured or killed as a result, they will likely be considered “negligent per se.” A plaintiff who alleges that another party was negligent per se does not need to prove the four elements of negligence. Instead, he or she must only show that the defendant violated a statute and that this violation caused his or her damages. 

As in all 50 U.S. states, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law in Illinois. If you were injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, he or she would likely be considered negligent per se and be held liable for your damages. Similarly, it is against the law in Illinois to text and drive. If you were injured in an accident caused by a person who was illegally using a cell phone while driving, the distracted driver would likely be considered legally responsible for your damages.

Contact a Lake County Car Accident Lawyer

Being hurt in a car accident can lead to overwhelming medical bills, lost wages due to missed work, and pain and suffering. For help pursuing compensation after you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, contact an experienced Waukegan personal injury attorney from Salvi & Maher, L.L.C. Schedule a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation with our team of dedicated professionals by calling 847-662-3303 today.

 

Sources:

https://courts.illinois.gov/CircuitCourt/CivilJuryInstructions/IL_IPI_Civil.pdf

https://wqad.com/2018/08/17/texting-while-driving-could-lead-to-license-suspension-under-new-illinois-law/

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