Many people never think they will be involved in an accident that will result in a lawsuit. However, if a person suffers injuries because of someone’s actions, they may need an auto accident attorney chesapeake va. If the injured victim decides to pursue legal action, it’s important that they understand negligence.
What is Negligence in an Auto Accident?
Negligence in an auto accident is pretty straightforward. A person is liable for an auto accident when they fail to act like a reasonable driver would have in the same and/or similar circumstance. There’s no such thing as a “reasonable driver.” Therefore, Virginia determines what a reasonable driver would do by assuming they’d obey all traffic laws.
This means if a driver caused an auto accident by not following a traffic law, they were negligent. This is a pretty straight-forward answer. The Commonwealth, however, requires a plaintiff to prove negligence.
There are Four Elements of Negligence
In a personal injury case, negligence must be proven in a series of steps. These “steps” are called elements. The elements must be proven in a specific way. If each step isn’t proven, a plaintiff will lose the their case and be responsible for paying their own accident-related bills.
Duty of care is the first element. This means the driver had a duty to protect other drivers and pedestrians from harm while operating a motor vehicle. If the plaintiff proves they were owed a duty of care, they must determine there was a breach of care.
Breach of Duty in an Auto Accident
Breach of duty occurs when the driver fails in their responsibility to protect the plaintiff. They did someone or didn’t do something that caused the plaintiff harm. Once breach of duty is established, the next element must be proven. It’s called causation.
Causation Determined if the Defendant was at Fault
Causation refers to who was directly or indirectly at fault for the auto accident. Indirect fault occurs when a driver did something to cause the accident, but it wasn’t direct. For example, they cause someone else to hit the plaintiff. Direct cause means the driver’s actions led to the accident. One example of direct cause is running a stop sign.
Damages are How a Plaintiff is Paid
The term “damages” refer to money. If all elements are met, the court will want to know the plaintiff’s accident-related expenses. These expenses include medical bills and lost wages.
A Virginia Personal Injury Attorney
Negligence acts are easy to see. For instance, it may be obvious that the other driver ran a red light and caused the auto accident. In many Virginia auto accidents, negligence is harder to prove. Thus, there’s a need for a personal injury attorney.
The personal injury attorney will gather evidence to establish a negligence in a lawsuit. This makes a personal injury attorney invaluable. They have the resources many injured victims to do not access to. They will hire experts to provide testimony to prove elements like duty of care, breach of duty and cause