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Proving negligence in an accident

Victims of a car accident in Ohio or their loved ones may have heard the term "negligence" thrown about with respect to their crash. While individuals may understand that negligence has something to do with holding the other party responsible, they may not fully grasp what the legal term means. Negligence is a legal term that refers to any careless behavior that either causes or contributes to an accident. If a car accident occurs because someone failed to stop at a red light, then that person was probably negligent for violating a traffic law and causing the accident.

When someone injured in an accident wants to bring a lawsuit against the other party, he or she typically must prove that the party was negligent. In order to do this, the injury victim must prove that the party responsible owed a duty to him or her. In terms of a car accident, drivers on the road owe a duty to other drivers on the road to drive safely. Once the duty element is settled, it must be shown that this duty was breached or that the responsible party failed to act in a reasonable manner in fulfilling this duty.

Once these two elements are established, an accident victim then must prove that if it had not been for the responsible party's behavior, the accident would not have taken place. This means that if the other party had not been drinking and driving, the drunk driving accident would not have taken place. Finally, the party must show that the harm suffered was related to the accident in which he or she was involved and that damages stemmed from the accident, such as medical bills or pain and suffering.

Once the above elements are proven and negligence is established, it may become easier to succeed in a personal injury lawsuit holding the negligent party responsible for his or her careless behavior. An attorney experienced in this area may be able to guide accident victims and their loved ones through the legalities of the issue.

Source: FindLaw, "Accident Fault FAQ," accessed Feb. 3, 2015

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