Proving Negligence in Car Accidents

Establishing the duty owed to the plaintiff by the defendant is the first step in establishing a case of negligence. In a car or truck accident, this duty may be established by referring to the rules of the road that apply to all drivers, or perhaps the federal regulations applicable to commercial truckers and trucking companies. At the Coral Springs office of Heller & Heller, P.A., our attorney and staff are dedicated to helping clients understand the process of proving who was at fault in the accident.

Step By Step, We Pursue Justice

  1. The element of duty requires the claimant to prove that the defendant had a legal obligation to either do a particular thing or to refrain from doing a certain thing. In the context of car accidents, this means operating a vehicle as carefully as an ordinary, prudent person in similar circumstances.
  2. The second element, breach of duty, is shown by demonstrating that the defendant either did not do what he or she was supposed to do or did something that should not have been done.
  3. The third step of a negligence lawsuit consists of proving causation. This means showing that the defendant's breach of duty was the action that brought about the accident. In other words, the defendant's failure to act as a reasonable and prudent person would have acted in a certain situation must have resulted in financial or other losses to the person who is seeking to recover an award of damages.
  4. The last step of a negligence lawsuit is proving damages. These can be either economic or noneconomic in nature. Compensatory damages are often awarded for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, lost earning capacity, and pain and suffering. Punitive damages may be awarded when a defendant acted with malice, wantonness or willfulness, which requires an additional deterrent against engaging in such conduct in the future.

The state of Florida imposes a statute of limitations on anyone who has been injured in a car accident. During this time, the victim or the family of a person killed in a crash may file a lawsuit, but thereafter there can be no recovery in most cases.

For more information, please email a lawyer at our firm or call our office at 954-228-5940.