What are the elements of negligence in a car accident?

Minnesota drivers may have read various posts on this blog about holding a negligent driver accountable through a lawsuit for causing an accident that resulted in injuries. However, lets take a step back and consider what exactly that means. In order to hold someone accountable in a personal injury lawsuit for causing an accident, it must first be proven that that person was liable — was responsible for causing the accident.

How is liability determined? For car accidents, this involves a determination of negligence. Negligence occurs when someone acts carelessly and causes another person’s injuries. There are four components in a claim for negligence.

One of the first things that must be ascertained to prove negligence is that the person must have had a duty to the injured party. For example, motorists have a duty to obey traffic laws. From there it flows that the duty was breached. An example of a breach of duty is if a motorist failed to obey traffic laws by running a red light and striking a second vehicle from behind. Furthermore the breach must have caused the foreseeable and actual injuries suffered in the incident. Finally, the victim must have incurred some sort of damages due to the accident.

In order to hold someone liable under for negligence in an accident, it is important to prove all four aforementioned elements. Without any one of these elements, the case would fail, and the car accident victim would not be able to get any compensation for their injuries, medical expenses and lost wages from the party that caused the accident. Since the nature of this post is for general information only, an attorney may be able to help guide Minnesota residents through the process of filing a lawsuit based on the theory of negligence and assist them by gathering evidence of fault in an accident.

Source: FindLaw, “Proving fault: what is negligence?,” Accessed July 28, 2015