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Proving the five elements of negligence in car accidents

Many New Mexico residents who have been involved in car accidents experience a variety of emotions. Sometimes, a car accident victim might feel bewildered, unable to comprehend what happened to him or her. Other times, car accident victims might feel enraged at the negligent driver who caused an accident to occur. Victims often understandably desire to bring a negligent driver to justice. Thankfully, there are ways of going about this.

Proving negligence following a car accident typically involves five elements. The plaintiff must prove these five elements in order to show that the defendant was negligent. The first of these five elements is duty. In other words, it must be proven that the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff; for example, the driver owed a duty to the other drivers to drive safely and carefully. Next, it must be shown that there was a breach of this duty. A breach of duty is proved by showing that the defendant failed to act in a way that a reasonable person would in ensuring that the duty owed to the plaintiff is fulfilled.

The third element in proving negligence is showing a cause in fact. A cause in fact is shown by proving that were it nor for the defendant's actions, the plaintiff would not have been injured. The next element is proximate cause; that is, the proximity of the defendant's actions to the harms involved in the lawsuit. The basic question here is whether or not it is considered fair to attribute an injury to the actions of a defendant. And lastly, damages must be proven. These include medical bills, as well as possibly pain suffering caused by the car accident injuries.

By successfully proving negligence, victims may be able to obtain compensation that can help cover these damages. Though the above should not be construed a slegal advice, attorneys are often available to assist with this process.

Source: FindLaw, "Accident Fault FAQ," Accessed on March 1, 2016

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