After a car accident, one of the first things you should do is contact a lawyer. Though you may not want to, given how emotionally draining even a minor accident can be, getting a lawyer early is crucial to ensuring your expenses are covered if you aren’t at fault.
Sometimes, even when someone else causes the accident, insurance companies will dispute who is at fault. In that case, your lawyer will have to establish negligence. Doing so requires knowledge of local laws and regulations. For instance, if you’re in the Garden City area of New York, you’ll have better chances of winning your case if you call a car accident lawyer in Garden City, NY.
Once you’ve chosen a lawyer to represent you, you may wonder what they’ll do exactly. That is, how will they establish negligence? And what is negligence in the first place?
Below, we’ll explain everything you need to know about how lawyers help you establish negligence after a car accident, ensuring you get compensation to cover your expenses.
What is negligence?
Negligence is careless conduct that results in harm to someone else.
As a driver, the law requires you to take reasonable care to avoid harming others. For example, you have to stop at stop signs. And, if there’s a crosswalk, you have to look both ways to ensure no one’s trying to cross the street before you begin moving again.
If you failed to do these reasonable things and happened to hit a pedestrian crossing the street, the law would consider you negligent. As a result, you would be financially liable for the pedestrian’s injuries.
How lawyers establish negligence
If you’re in an accident and the fault is in dispute, you may have to establish negligence to receive compensation. Lawyers do this in a few simple steps.
1. Show the law required reasonable care
First, a lawyer must show that the law requires reasonable care. All drivers must show reasonable care, which is a given in car accident cases.
2. Show the defendant didn’t act with reasonable care
Next, lawyers have to establish that the defendant didn’t act with reasonable care. In legal settings, the plaintiff is the person who brings the case to court. The defendant is the one who stands accused of liability.
The lawyer will investigate the accident to show the defendant didn’t act reasonably. They may find eyewitness accounts, camera footage, or other evidence that the defendant failed to act reasonably while driving.
4. Show the defendant’s lack of care caused your injuries
Once the lawyer shows that the defendant failed to take reasonable care, they’ll have to show that failure led directly to your injuries.
For example, your lawyer may be able to show that the defendant ran a stop sign, causing the accident, but that doesn’t prove your back pain came from the accident. It could have come from the fall you took skiing the week before. Your lawyer will help prove that your injuries were from the accident through medical records and other evidence.
5. Show that your losses are measurable
Finally, when establishing negligence, your lawyer has to show that your losses are measurable.
So, if you were in an accident but didn’t have an injury, didn’t miss any work, and didn’t have any property damage, there’s no compensation to recover. In other words, your losses weren’t measurable.
Your lawyer will help you establish negligence by showing evidence of your losses. Records of injuries, vehicle damage, and lost earnings will help prove negligence.
Establishing negligence can be trickier than it sounds. It may be clear to you that an accident wasn’t your fault, but an insurance company or the other driver may not see it that way. They may dispute your claim, which makes having a good attorney crucial.
An experienced car accident lawyer can help you establish negligence, proving that the other party is liable for your expenses. So, even if calling a lawyer isn’t your first thought after a car crash, you should make sure it ranks highly on your to-do list.
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