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How do you prove negligence in a car accident?

It is a known fact that whenever a driver gets behind the wheel of a vehicle they are at the risk of being involved in a car accident. In order to reduce these chances, most drivers in Iowa practice safe driving and follow the rules of the road. Despite these efforts to drive safe and avoid a collision, this does not guard the individual from a negligent driver. When an accident occurs and a victim is injured, they often seek to assign fault to another driver due to that driver's negligence or recklessness.

How do you prove negligence in an automobile collision? While the following is for informational purposes only, in order to establish that another driver was careless and caused the accident, one is required to prove four elements to make a negligence claim.

First, it needs to be proven that the defendant driver owed a legal duty to the injured party. Specifically, under the circumstances of the incident the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff such as driving safely. Next, it must be proven that there was a breach of this legal duty by the actions or the lack of actions by the driver.

Third, there must be causation. The actions or the inactions of the defendant driver must have actually caused the incident that injured the victim. Lastly, there must be damages. Due to the defendant's actions or inactions, the plaintiff must have been harmed or injured in some way.

Even if it appears clear that another driver was negligent or reckless, an accident victim should understand the next steps that should be taken to prove that they were negligent. Whether it is uncovering evidence, obtaining witness statements or conducting an accident reconstruction, all the elements must be proven to establish negligence. Those unsure of their rights and options during this phase should be sure to seek guidance so they could pursue legal action such as filing a personal injury claim.

Source: FindLaw, "Proving Fault: What is Negligence?" accessed Feb. 23, 2015

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