The Elements of Your Car Accident Lawsuit
If you’re been injured in a car accident and are contemplating filing a lawsuit, you should first get a general idea of the elements you need to prove in order to win your case.
The general theory to use in a car accident lawsuit is negligence. Your Orange County auto accident lawyer will have to prove that the defendant was negligent by establishing all of the following elements:
- Duty. When a driver gets behind the wheel and operates a vehicle, a duty of care to anyone within a reasonably foreseeable distance (including pedestrians, passengers, and other drivers) arises. There can also be a duty of care if someone (such as an employer) is responsible for the acts of another.
- Breach. The defendant breaches his duty of care when he fails to act as a “reasonably prudent person under similar circumstances” would.
- Causation. The defendant’s breach of his duty caused your injuries. That is, you wouldn’t have been injured if it hadn’t been for the defendant’s breach of duty.
- Damages. You suffered damages as a result. This usually consists of: (a) past and future medical expenses; (b) past and future pain and suffering; and/or (c) past and future disability, such as lost wages or income.
There may be more than one possible defendant at fault.
You should consider all the possible defendants in your lawsuit, including:
(1) The defendant’s employer, if the defendant driver was working during the accident;
(2) A private company, if one of the traffic signs malfunctioned and if the private company (instead of the city) was in charge of maintaining the signals.
(3) A contractor, if it didn’t do its work properly in constructing roadwork.
(4) Someone who obstructed driver’s views, such as by double parking.
(5) The car manufacturer, if there were any manufacturing defects in the car that caused the accident.
(6) The person or business that provided the defendant with alcohol, if the defendant was drunk driving at the time of the accident.
Your Orange County auto accident lawyer may also consider filing a claim under your uninsured motorist insurance policy if either: (a) you were in a hit-and-run accident, or (b) the defendant doesn’t have enough liability insurance to cover your costs.
If you’ve been injured in an automobile accident, experienced Orange County auto accident lawyer Samer Habbas can help you. Simply contact me by filling out the form on this page for a free initial consultation.