Was The Driver Who Hit Me Negligent?
You have been in a car accident, and you believe you weren’t at fault. So many questions:
- What should you do next?
- Who’s paying for this?
- Is the other driver held at fault?
- Were they negligent?
Let’s breakdown the basis of what negligence means, who really is at fault, and how your accident may affect your auto insurance claim even if you were not the one that caused it.
There are many reasons that someone may be distracted while driving. Driver negligence can be due to nearly anything, but the most common reasons are:
- Texting and driving
- Talking on a cell phone
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Overestimating the time available to make a turn or U-turn
Elements of Driver Negligence
In Florida, one of the first things you and your attorney will need to prove is that negligence did occur by the other driver. You will need to prove 5 elements of negligence or fault.
Establish a duty of care
A duty of care in most car accidents is explained by the “reasonable man” standard. People are expected to act as a reasonable person would in certain situations. For example, a reasonable person would not speed, swerve, drive recklessly, or neglect maintenance of their car, which was the reason for the accident.
Breach of duty
As a reasonable person, you have to keep members of the public as safe as possible to the best of your abilities.
You and your lawyer will need to prove that the negligent driver breached their duty and their action was “unreasonable” and negligent.
Florida follows a pure comparative negligence system. In other words, damages can be apportioned between parties based on their percentage of fault. So even if the negligent driver was at fault for 95% of the accident, they can still recover 5% of damages from you.
This is why having an attorney is extremely valuable in Florida. Not only do you have to show the other driver was at fault, but you now have to prove your own reasonableness at the time of the accident.
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Next, you will need to prove these unreasonable actions were the proximate cause of the accident/injury. For example, if they had not driven through the red light, you would not have been hit.
Finally, you must establish or prove that there were actual damages or injuries due to the negligent driver’s actions. Due to the nature of car accidents, this is often a lot easier to prove.
Proving negligence can be a challenge, which is why you should have a knowledgeable attorney from Mickey Keenan, PA by your side to help your case move along efficiently and quickly to help minimize your suffering.
Tips For Handling An Accident Scene
At the accident scene, be mindful and proactive. By following some of these tips, you can help prove that you were acting “reasonable” while the other driver was at fault.
- Call the police. The police will write a report and interview witnesses if any. This report can help you and your attorney later show you were not at fault.
- Take photographs and talk to witnesses. Just like calling the police, who will submit an accident report, you should do your due diligence by photographing the crime scene and gathering witness names. This type of documentation can show you were not at fault.
- Seek medical attention. If you are injured you will need to seek medical attention. If there any injuries you are seeking compensation for later it will need to be documented and shown that it was due to the accident.
- Call your insurance company. Let your insurance company know there has been an accident. Although you should refrain from giving any statements until you have your attorney available. Even though you were not at fault, you do not want your words to be used against you later.
Call An Accident Attorney Immediately
Being injured in a car accident, especially one that is not your fault, can be scary and confusing. Calling an attorney at Mickey Keenan, PA immediately after the accident is a great way to help handle the legal process and handle the insurance companies, who may try to minimize the amount of payout you deserve.
Our accident reconstruction experts will work to show that the other driver was at fault, while you were not. We will work with you to get the settlement you deserve while you can focus on your injuries and damage.
After an accident, you need to immediately consult with one of our personal injury attorneys who understand Florida law inside and out. Visit us online for a free consultation or call us at 813-871-1300. We will make sure you get the compensation you deserve. At Mickey Keenan, your fight is our fight.