Residents of New York who have been injured in a car accident should be aware of the factors that help a court determine whether another driver can be held responsible for a wreck. This is referred to as negligent driving, and while negligent driving has a broader definition in the minds of many people, it has a specific legal definition. Knowing how negligence is legally defined can help an injured person decide whether the court might consider his or her case.
First, for the court to determine that a driver’s negligence resulted in personal injury, there needs to be reasonable evidence that he or she was not exercising care at the time of the accident. For example, perhaps the other driver was texting while driving or swerving in and out of his or her lane. Failing a breath test is another example of failure to exercise reasonable care. Other examples include following another vehicle too closely, failing to follow traffic laws, speeding and failing to wear prescription eyeglasses.
Failure to perform vehicular maintenance is another factor that can be used to determine negligence. However, even if a vehicle is poorly maintained, the driver may not be found at fault unless the lack of maintenance was a direct cause of the accident. For example, worn-out brakes might result in a determination that the driver was negligent, but a rusted door likely would not. Dead headlights are another common example of negligence but only if the accident happened at night or during inclement weather.
If someone suffers a personal injury as a result of a wreck and believes the court may consider the other driver negligent, he or she may consider scheduling a consultation with an experienced attorney prior to making the decision to open a court case. A qualified attorney may be able to help a car accident victim decide if he or she has a case.