Most car accidents in New York and around the country are caused by some sort of human error, which is why victims who suffer harm often pursue legal remedies. In order to prevail in a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff must establish that the defendant owed them a duty of care and failed to meet this duty. They must then prove that they suffered injury, loss or damage as a direct result of the defendant’s reckless actions.
The duty of care
Motorists are expected to do all that they reasonably can to avoid injuring others. They fail to meet this duty of care when they ignore traffic laws, drive aggressively, become distracted or get behind the wheel after drinking or using drugs. Driving a vehicle with obvious safety issues like bald tires or defective brakes is also dangerous and negligent. The defendants in most car accident-related personal injury lawsuits are reckless motorists, but service centers that perform inadequate repairs and bars or restaurants that serve alcohol to obviously intoxicated patrons can also be sued.
Car accident lawsuit damages
Car accident injuries are often catastrophic, which means the damages awarded to injured road users are sometimes high. In addition to compensatory damages that cover the costs of medical treatment and physical therapy, motor vehicle accident victims may be entitled to compensation for their property damage, lost income and pain and suffering. When road users lose their lives in car accidents, their dependent family members may pursue wrongful death lawsuits against the negligent parties responsible. The damages in these cases are based largely on the financial support the decedent would have provided to the plaintiff if they had lived.
Some car accident victims choose not to pursue legal remedies because they do not believe the evidence is strong enough to prove their cases beyond reasonable doubt. This is the standard of proof in criminal cases, but civil litigants do not have to clear such a high bar. Civil lawsuits are decided based on the preponderance of the evidence, which means the party that makes the most convincing arguments will prevail even if they lack overwhelming evidence.