Previous posts here have discussed various aspects of car accidents, including what Connecticut requires of someone who’s been involved in one, as well as the frequency of such accidents on some of the roads in the state. Last fall, we touched on the concept of negligence, and gave some examples of what might be negligent behavior behind the wheel. Today we’ll take a closer look at the term and what it actually entails.
The concept of negligence is not confined to car accidents, as it is used in many areas of the law, especially when it comes to personal injury lawsuits. It may be, however, the most commonly used theory when it comes to holding a party responsible for a motor vehicle mishap. This is because many car accidents are due to someone not following the rules of the road, which can easily give rise to a negligence claim.
There are several elements to a negligence case, which include the breach of a legal duty, actual and proximate cause and damage. Duty and breach mean that the law recognizes that the person at fault had some obligation to act or refrain from acting in a certain way towards the injured party and that the person failed to meet that obligation. The breach of the legal duty must have both been what actually caused the injury to the victim and such an injury must have been an objectively foreseeable result of the objectionable conduct. Finally, the person bringing a lawsuit based on negligence has to show that he or she was hurt in some way by the breach of duty.
While this may seem rather simple on the surface, the fact is that in many cases the elements of a negligence claim can become very complicated, especially when discussing the idea of proximate cause. As might be imagined, people can argue very forcefully about what can be reasonably foreseen as the result of a certain action or lack thereof.