In the event of a car accident, fault needs to be determined in order to identify who among the parties is liable to pay the other damages. When assessing who is at fault, courts look at various elements and liability doctrines, one of which is negligence per se.
Negligence per se is a liability doctrine used in personal injury cases. It refers to an act that is negligent simply because it violates a law designed to protect people, which results in injury or harm to another.
When someone is deemed negligent per se in a car accident claim, there is no longer a need to prove that they breached their duty of care. Upon showing that they violated a traffic or moving law, they are negligent per se and immediately at fault – and hence, are liable for damages.
A party in a car crash is negligent per se if they violated a law designed to protect against the damages that they caused. Some examples of acts of negligence per se include:
All car accident cases require a party to prove that the other was negligent, and hence liable for damages. Generally, negligence is established by meeting the following elements:
However, if negligence per se is argued, it’s no longer necessary to prove a breach of duty. Their negligence is already presumed, and to prove it, the other party needs to establish with sufficient evidence that a law was violated, resulting in the crash.
Specifically, the driver making the claim must prove that the following elements are present:
The final element talks about the concept of proximate cause. In a car accident, this means that the negligent act is sufficiently related to the injury or damage for it to be deemed the cause of the injury. If the at-fault driver’s negligent act was not the proximate cause, then they are not liable for damages.
In addition to proving that a party was negligent per se, the driver making the claim must also prove their damages, i.e. exactly how much they are entitled to. Damages in car accident claims include:
To minimize the cashout, insurance companies will work hard to dispute the amount they need to pay on behalf of the insured at-fault driver. Hence, it’s important to work with a car accident attorney who can build a solid case to prove both negligence per se and the damages that you suffered.
The process of proving negligence per se and yielding the most favorable outcome in a car accident case can be complex. If you or anyone you know has been involved in a car accident, it’s important that you speak to an attorney who can guide you through the process and ensure that you receive what you’re entitled to.
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