If you're inclined to pursue a claim following a motor vehicle incident, it's a good idea to learn what a car accident lawyer would tell you that you need to do before getting started. Let's take a look at the four key components of any case under American car accident law.
Duty of Care
The first question that factors into whether responsibility will be assigned is whether there was a "duty of care." Such a duty emerges in any situation where a person or an organization has an expected responsibility to ensure that someone else isn't hurt by their actions or their inattention. For example, every motorist has a duty of care that requires them to operate their vehicle safely. If they're driving around with bald tires and worn down brake pads on their car, they may be held responsible for an incident that arises because they couldn't get the vehicle stopped in time.
There is also a duty of care when dealing with everyday driving issues. For example, virtually every experienced car accident lawyer in America has a story about a defendant who ended up in a crash because they made an illegal left turn into traffic.
A breach occurs when someone violates the duty of care. In the left turn example just listed, there will be signs along the roadway that clearly indicate that performing a left turn in that area is not permitted. When motorists obtain their licenses, they agree to observe these posted signs. Failing to obey them or failing to spot them is a breach of a driver's duty to operate their ride as safely as possible.
Showing a causal link between a driver's actions and the injuries a client suffered is a big part of the job of a car accident lawyer. Causation is legally necessary because motorists aren't responsible for things they can't prevent, such as hitting icy patches on the road during cold weather and losing control of a car.
It is not enough that a defendant had a duty of care and breached it. There must also be provable damages. While physical injuries tend to be fairly easy to demonstrate, some types of harm may be harder to show. For example, neck pain arising from whiplash isn't always evident right after an accident. Similarly, psychological traumas from catastrophic accidents may only emerge under specific circumstances, such as during rush hour.
For more information, reach out to a lawyer with knowledge of car accident law.