Accidents are common in the United States, and the southwestern parts of California, Pasadena, is not an exception. There are many road networks and great highway. One of the common causes of accidents is negligence. Negligence as a common cause of accidents on the Californian road can fall into one of three main categories namely, drivers’ negligence, negligence on the part of equipment producers or other parties. When accidents happen, most of it would warrant filing a lawsuit and hiring a Pasadena injury attorney. The injured person (the plaintiff) will have to show the court of law that the accused or defendant is at fault for the accident. In this article, you will read about negligence and other things you need to know about an auto accident in Pasadena.
What is considered as a negligent behavior?
Among about 350,000 road users in California, negligence has been a major cause of accidents. Nowadays, it is very easy to get distracted while driving. So if a driver gets distracted and this leads to an accident, such is considered negligent behavior. Negligent behaviors are of various kinds and types, and they include talking over the phone, using headphones for playing music, controlling sound equipment while driving, texting, feeling tired or sleepy when driving, making use of computers or GPS units, etc. A distracted person might not notice some road signs or notice some preventable hazards early enough. Also, a driver can cause an accident when he or she turns the car suddenly or misses certain turns and confuse other drivers.
As a driver, you should be careful when driving because you are not only protecting your life and that of your passengers but other road users’ lives and properties. Failure to pay attention to the road or making an ill-advised decision in the spur of the moment can out a lot of people in harm’s way, making them victims of your negligence.
On many occasions, negligence is attached to actions, but it could be due to omissions in some instances:
Duty of care – a driver should concentrate and show a level of care to prevent an accident to other road users. Drivers should try to foresee what could be potential accidents and take actions and decisions that will prevent injuries to people and damage to property.
Breach of duty – in this case, the driver(s) is careless to the traffic laws, road signs and her own driving skills. This could lead to a breach of duty of taking adequate care when driving on the road.
What are my driver’s responsibilities?
When it comes to driving, there are some responsibilities that are expected from a law-abiding driver and road user. A driver is expected to exercise a reasonable amount of care when behind the wheel and on the roads as their actions and inactions can compromise the health and safety of other road users. A driver is also expected to pay attention to traffic signs and signals, obey traffic laws, pay attention to elements on the road and drive in a responsible manner, negotiating aspects of the road with appropriate speed limits.
In the event of an accident, a driver is also expected and required by law to stop and check on the other party involved to ensure that all the help needed is rendered and also to appropriately document the incident with law enforcement agencies.
Leaving the scene of an accident before the police or law enforcement agents arrive can lead to a more aggravated charge against such a driver. Termed ‘hit and run’ accident, the driver may be faced with even steeper penalties including fines and jail time.
If someone has been injured or killed during such an accident, the driver is required to stop at the scene of the incident, exchange contact information, wait for the police at the scene and make an official statement detailing what can be remembered in the buildup and aftermath of the crash.
Elements of Driver’s negligence in California
To generally initiate a valid car accident claim, there is a need to be able to demonstrate the following elements of negligence;
- That the other driver had a duty to operate his or her vehicle and conduct themselves appropriately on the road
- That the other driver has breached his or her duty
- That the actions of the driver are responsible for the accident
- That the accident has directly caused injury to you, your passenger, monetary loss, or in some cases, death.
Proving negligence can however be a complex task in some cases. Attorneys understand that proving negligence is an important part of the case and as such are able to work with clients to establish proof of negligence as this will further strengthen their case and provide a basis for demanding compensation for damages, losses and other inconveniences.
In some cases, however, negligence and fault may be shared by both drivers involved in the accident. To better establish the at-fault party, speak to your attorney.
Can negligence affect my settlement? How?
As a plaintiff, if you own a portion of the negligent behavior, the Pasadena personal injury attorney will tell you that you will also own the exact portion of the settlement. This means the size of settlement or award will be reduced by that portion.
There is what is called comparative negligence. In such situations, there is more than one party sharing the negligent activities that caused an accident. Many driving schools have thus trained students to always drive defensively. As an example, if you notice someone driving and you decide to overtake the vehicle and you cause an accident up ahead, you will both share the fault, partial responsibilities will be awarded to both of you as a result of negligence.
On the other hand, contributory negligence is when you share some parts of the responsibility of the accident’s injury. And you might end up with zero compensation for your injuries and damages because you are a contributor to the accident.
In order to win your claims, you have to strongly prove negligence. A good Pasadena personal injury attorney will assist you in winning your claims. So hire a qualified and experienced one any time.