When a vehicle collision occurs, it may be due to the negligence of a driver. Negligence forms the legal theory of many personal injury claims, and victims can recover damages they have endured for serious injuries after proving the legal fault of the other driver. To demonstrate negligence, the plaintiff victim would show that the defendant driver owed them a duty of care, breached this duty, and directly caused their resulting injuries and harm.According to the Commonwealth’s model civil jury instructions, negligence is defined as the failure to use the degree of care that a reasonable and prudent person would use, under similar circumstances, to prevent an accident. Reasonable care is the level of attention that others would exercise in similar situations. In the case of a driver breaching a duty of care, there are a variety of ways that this breach can take place.
Breaching a duty of care while driving may involve violating a safety regulation, which can be used as strong evidence of negligence. The jury instructions make clear, however, that this is not conclusive evidence. In other words, the injured victim will still need to prove the elements of negligence.
In the case of a rear-end collision, liability is usually straightforward. After a rear-end collision, a police officer or trooper will likely respond to the crash scene and issue a moving violation to the driver who collided with the front vehicle. Liability may be clear in this situation, and insurance companies may accept their liability quickly.
For some rear-end accidents, however, it may be more challenging to assess fault. For example, in a chain-reaction car accident, more than one driver may be liable. These accidents take place when one driver cuts off another driver, and they can cause injuries to multiple people. It can be difficult to assign fault to one defendant following this type of collision.
After establishing liability in a rear-end collision case, the insurance company for the defendant may make a settlement offer. Some individuals may want to take this offer and not pay contingency fees. However, the insurance company often makes a low initial offer and does not provide for full financial recovery. Even when it may be straightforward to determine who was at fault in a car accident, there may still be a dispute regarding the amount of damages, particularly if an automobile insurance company fights a claim, contending that the injuries are not due to the impact of the crash.
Following an accident, if you or someone close to you has been injured, Boston car accident lawyer Michael O. Smith can help. Mr. Smith only advocates for injured individuals, protecting their rights as they try to hold at-fault parties accountable. His legal guidance has helped people throughout the Commonwealth, and he provides a free, no-obligation consultation. Call the office today at (617) 263-0060 or complete our online form to learn more about your legal rights and options.