How Is Fault Determined After A Car Accident?

Fault in auto accidents as well as other types of personal injury cases is based on  negligence. Someone is at fault only if the accident was caused by an act of negligence  or an intentional wrongful act. Negligence is an action that breaches a duty toward others.  Although there are many specific duties imposed on peoples’ behavior, it is also generally  required that people act in a reasonably prudent manner in their actions toward others.  Thus, negligence in its most general form is the failure to act in a reasonably prudent  manner toward others. There are certain elements that must be met to prove a cause of  action based on negligence and have a successful personal injury case. The elements of  a negligence cause of action are duty, breach, causation, and damages. In this blog post,  we will look at each of these separately.  


Duty is the first element of negligence that must be proven. The person who injured you  must have had some duty under the law to act or not act in a certain way. This duty can  generally be based on one of two types of law—common law or statutory law. There are many types of duties created by case law which are thus part of the common law. For  instance, in most states the common law provides that people must use reasonable prudent care under the circumstances regarding all their behavior towards others. An  example of this would be that everyone has a duty to use reasonable care to avoid  bumping into others while driving. If you fail to use reasonable care and you bump into  someone, you have violated that duty to use reasonable care. In most states, statutory  laws could form the basis of a personal injury lawsuit if the duty outlined in the statute is  breached. For instance, a law might require a person to have functioning headlights to drive a vehicle at night. If a person drives at night with no headlights, they have breached  the duty provided in the law and if they cause an accident, then there is a potential  personal injury case based on this breach of duty. 


The second element of a negligence claim is breach of duty. To have a successful  personal injury lawsuit based upon negligence, the defendant must have had some duty  toward you and he or she must also have breached or failed to follow, that duty. For  example, people generally have the duty to drive their vehicles in such a manner as to  not run stop signs. If a person breaches this duty by running a stop sign and crashes into  you, then you have the first two elements of a negligence claim: duty and breach. 


The third element of a negligence claim is causation. To recover damages for injuries  caused by the negligence of another per- son, the breach of duty (the first two elements)  must have been the cause of your injuries. For instance, if the defendant ran a stop sign  and t-boned your vehicle and you suffered an injury because of the accident, then there  is causation between the breached duty and your injury, and you can recover damages  for the injury. However, if you develop leg pain because you fell earlier in the day and the  pain has nothing to do with the accident, then you cannot blame the car accident for the  leg pain, as there is no causation. This is because there is no connection between the  breached duty and your injury. It is important to note that not only must the defendant’s  behavior be the cause of the injury, but it must also be the proximate cause of the injury. 


The final element of a negligence claim is damages. This one is simple. You must have  suffered damages of some sort to have a cause of action. In other words, if you have no  personal injuries or property damage, you have no lawsuit. Damages include monetary  losses, often called economic damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, damages to  property and other losses which have an easy calculable monetary value.

Accident Attorney in Miami & Broward 

The elements of a negligence claim presented above are the elements of a claim for any  type of negligence tort, not just auto accidents. Thus, the same elements would apply to  prove negligence in a slip and fall case or a product liability case and so on. The personal  injury lawyers at Suarez and Montero are ready to provide you with top-notch legal  services. We take all types of personal injury matters including motor vehicle accidents  involving trucks, government vehicles, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, ATVs, pedestrians,  etc. We have the tools and legal experience and would like to put it to work for you! At  Suarez and Montero, we would like to help our clients focus on recovering from their  injuries while we focus on protecting their legal rights under the law. Our personal injury  lawyers are ready to provide proven legal representation and stand ready to protect your  rights. We are available 24/7 to give you a free, no risk case consultation! 

We serve clients throughout Florida including those in the following areas: 

Miami-Dade: Aventura, Coral Gables, Doral, Fontainebleau, Hialeah, Homestead,  Kendall, Miami, Miami Beach, Miami Lakes, North Miami, Tamiami, and Westchester. 

Broward: Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, and Weston;  and Palm Beach County including Boca Raton, Lake Worth, and West Palm Beach. 

Jaime Suarez

An experienced legal personal injury defense professional in Miami, who is dedicated to helping accident victims with personal injury cases involving automobile accidents, brain and spinal cord injuries, slip and fall accidents, prescription errors, wrongful death, and accidents at work.