As with other types of negligence, negligence involving motorists consists of three elements:
- A defendant's legal duty to use due care;
- A breach of that duty; and
- The breach is the proximate cause of the plaintiff's injury.
A motorist is required to exercise reasonable care in the operation of a vehicle on the roadway. He or she is required to use the degree of care that would be required of a reasonably prudent driver acting in similar circumstances. Generally, for a motorist to meet the test of reasonable care, he or she must maintain a reasonable lookout for traffic and must keep his or her vehicle under such control so as to avoid a collision or to stop as quickly as required by eventualities that would be anticipated by an ordinarily prudent driver in the same situation.
In addition to the care that must be exercised while driving, all motorists also have a duty to maintain their automobile in a safe operating condition. This includes proper mechanical maintenance as well as proper equipment, such as shocks and/or tires with sufficient tread and tire pressure.
If you have been involved in an automobile accident you may be entitled to compensation by the negligent party's insurance company. If that party is uninsured or underinsured, you may also be entitled to compensation from your own insurance company, depending on your policy. In either case, you should never proceed with a negligence claim or discuss your claim with an insurance adjuster without first obtaining legal advice. Insurance companies often try to prematurely entice settlements with injured parties, which in the long run, can cause your case to be significantly undervalued.
Often times within the first weeks after an accident, important physical evidence can be lost and/or witnesses may become hard to find or forgetful. At Duvel Law, APC., we will promptly investigate an accident to assess and determine fault. We will analyze all the evidence and speak to witnesses while their recollection is still fresh.
Below is a list of things you should always do after an accident:
- Make sure that the police, sheriff or CHP are called to the scene and that a traffic collision report is filed.
- Write down the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all witnesses to the accident.
- Obtain the name, address, telephone number, driver's license number, insurance information, the vehicle make and model, and the vehicle license plate number of all other persons involved in the accident.
- Take photographs of the accident scene, including photos of all the vehicles involved.
- Take photographs of your vehicle before it is repaired or declared a total loss.
- Take photographs of your injuries immediately after the accident, as well as subsequent photographs of your injuries as they heal.
- Obtain medical attention immediately and tell your physician exactly how the injury occurred. Be precise in your explanation, as bad descriptions in medical records can become a problem down the line.
- Always describe all symptoms and complaints, no matter how minor they may seem at the time.
Duvel Law, APC., represents clients who have suffered personal injuries in automobile, motorcycle or truck accidents, as well as collisions or crashes resulting from defective products or designs in automobiles and trucks, such as defective seatbelts, tires or gas tanks.
Injuries suffered as a result of automobile accidents can be severe and life altering. You may have suffered a spinal cord injury or paralysis, head trauma, broken bones, dislocated limbs, internal bleeding, internal organ damage, burns or whiplash. Our firm understands that your immediate goals after going through such trauma are to get your medical bills paid and covered, make sure you do not suffer financially by missing work, and make sure your insurance company will pay for past and future treatment relating to your injury. Our experienced attorneys will discuss your situation and present all the options available to you, as well as work with insurance companies to make sure all your needs are handled quickly and professionally.