Automobile accidents are one of the leading causes of serious injury in the United States. Although every state has traffic laws, not everyone follows them. Reckless, intoxicated, or inattentive commonly cause serious accidents, but to prove they are to blame requires proving negligence.
Simply put, negligence means “wrongdoing.” It is present when someone has violated driving safety laws and causes harm to someone else because of it. For example, every state has restrictions on acceptable driving speed in school zones during hours when school is in session.
Unfortunately, speed restrictions around schools are some of the most commonly violated traffic laws. But drivers who fail to heed posted speed restrictions in school zones will almost certainly be found guilty of negligence, and therefore largely at fault in the eyes of law enforcement, the courts, and insurance companies.
Negligence is also present in other situations. If a driver has not slept in 24 hours and falls asleep at the wheel, the failure to pull over and take a nap is likely to be viewed as a negligent action in any state. Similarly, driving while under the influence of banned substances or over a jurisdiction’s legal limit for blood alcohol content also equates to engaging in negligent action. The common thread in each case is simple: the driver did something that has been recognized a violation of laws designed to protect others from harm.
Proving Negligence is Vital
Negligence is important because it is a necessary component in securing compensation for injuries after an auto accident. While a jury might find negligence against the offender in any case, a ticket issued by police or conviction for violating driving safety laws is strong evidence that almost always results in proving negligence against the at-fault driver. The same is true when it comes to insurance claims for accident injuries.
Determining Negligence in an Auto Accident
Understanding traffic laws is the first step to determining who is at fault for an accident. In many cases, the testimony of witnesses to the accident becomes vital. If no one saw the at-fault car fail to stop for a stop sign, proving negligence will be difficult.
Police reports should be checked for alcohol tests or other information that may be helpful in proving negligence. The ubiquity of cameras on our roadways is beginning to be felt in accident claims as well. More cases than ever now involve a review of video evidence.
Traffic Violations that Often Prove Negligence
While traffic laws vary from state to state, some regulations are universal. These are the simplest indicators of negligence in an accident. They include violations such as:
- Following too closely
- Collision a stationary object
- Failure to stay within marked lanes
- Failure to obey traffic signs, lights or signals
- Driving under the influence
If you were seriously injured in an accident because the other driver failed to obey traffic laws, contact our office for a free consultation and evaluation.