Lawyer for Negligence Explains Negligence in Motor Vehicle Accidents

Motor vehicle accidents are unfortunate incidents that can lead to injuries, property damage, and legal complexities. Understanding negligence in motor vehicle accidents with a lawyer for negligence is important for drivers and victims seeking legal recourse. 

Motor Vehicle Accidents in Canada

In Canada, motor vehicle accidents fall under provincial jurisdiction, resulting in variations in traffic laws and legal procedures across different provinces. However, the fundamental principles of negligence remain consistent. 

As of mid-June 2023, the number of deaths from motor vehicle crashes on roads patrolled by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) surpasses last year’s figures. According to OPP, 150 people have lost their lives on Ontario roads by the second week of June, marking a troubling increase from the 359 reported deaths throughout the entire year in 2022.

Notable recent accidents contributing to the rising toll include a June 8 two-vehicle head-on crash on Highway 7 in Lanark County, resulting in three fatalities, and a late May crash in Woodstock that claimed the lives of a bus driver and an OPP officer.

While these statistics provide a concerning snapshot, note that OPP’s jurisdiction does not cover many large urban areas, such as Toronto, Peel Region, or Hamilton. The increasing fatality trend emphasizes the need for heightened awareness and adherence to traffic laws to ensure road safety for all.

The Basics of Negligence

Negligence involves acting carelessly in a manner that causes harm to someone else, indicating a failure to behave with the level of care that a reasonably prudent person would exhibit under similar circumstances. To establish negligence in a vehicle accident case, four key elements must be proven:

Duty of Care

Duty of Care means people, especially professionals, have a legal duty to be reasonably careful. For instance, drivers should follow traffic rules and ensure their vehicles are safe to avoid causing harm to others.

Similarly, business owners are obligated to ensure their premises are safe for customers and that their products or services don’t harm anyone.

Breach of Duty of Care

Proving that the at-fault party failed to meet their duty of care, examining whether they took actions (or failed to take) that a reasonable person would take in a similar situation. To establish this, you must ask the right questions to demonstrate that they deviated from what an average person would do. 

Causation

Causation necessitates showing a direct link between the breach of duty and the injuries suffered. Being negligent isn’t enough; you must prove that the negligence directly caused harm. Vehicle accident lawyers work with medical professionals to establish the causes of injuries.

Damages

This is about proving the extent of your injuries, the final element in a negligence case. You can claim:

  • Special Damages: Money lost due to negligence, additional expenses, and lost wages.
  • General Damages: Non-economic damages, like emotional trauma, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium.

Negligence in Motor Vehicle Accidents

Distracted Driving Negligence

Distracted driving is the main reason for motor vehicle accidents, and negligence often stems from the driver’s failure to pay attention to the road. Examples include:

  • Texting while driving
  • Talking on the phone without employing a hands-free device
  • Eating or drinking while driving

 

Negligent BehaviourPotential Consequences
Texting while drivingReduces attention to the road
Talking on the phoneImpaired reaction time
Eating or drinkingDiverted focus from driving

 

Reckless Driving Negligence

Reckless driving involves a blatant disregard for traffic laws and safety. Examples of reckless driving negligence include:

  • Excessive speeding
  • Aggressive tailgating
  • Running red lights or stop signs

 

Negligent BehaviourPotential Consequences
Excessive speedingIncreased risk of accidents
Aggressive tailgatingHeightened probability of collisions
Running red lights or stop signsIntersection accidents

Drunk Driving Negligence

Driving under the alcohol or drugs influence is a serious offence that leads to motor vehicle accidents. Examples of drunk driving negligence include:

  • Running a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeding the legal limit
  • Driving under the influence of illegal substances

 

Negligent BehaviourPotential Consequences
Driving with a high BACImpaired coordination and judgment
Driving under the excessive influenceIncreases the risk of accidents

Fatigue-Related Negligence

Fatigue can impair a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. Negligence in this context may include:

  • Falling asleep at the wheel
  • Driving while excessively tired

 

Negligent BehaviourPotential Consequences
Falling asleep at the steering wheelLoss of control and accidents
Driving while excessively tiredReduced reaction time

 

Different Kinds of Negligence

There are different types of negligence, especially concerning personal injury claims. Let’s take a simple look at a few examples:

Ordinary Negligence

Ordinary negligence resembles everyday carelessness. It could involve a driver not exercising caution while turning right on a red light or grocery store employees failing to notice a spill until someone slips and falls.

Contributory and Comparative Negligence

These legal concepts apply when the individual making the injury claim might also bear some responsibility. For example, if someone shares a portion of the responsibility for their injuries, the compensation they receive from others deemed at fault might be reduced. This outcome is contingent upon the state’s regulations and guidelines.

Vicarious Negligence

Vicarious negligence happens when one person’s carelessness can be passed on to another, like a person or a business. In the grocery store example, the owner could be vicariously negligent for the employees not cleaning up the spill quickly.

Gross Negligence

Gross negligence transcends mere carelessness; it entails recklessness or a disregard for others’ safety. For example, while driving slightly above the speed limit and causing an accident constitutes negligence, driving excessively fast in a school zone and causing a crash is deemed gross negligence.

 

Next Steps After a Motor Vehicle Accident 

If you’ve been in a car crash and believe the other person was negligent, consult a personal injury accident attorney specializing in negligence cases. Negligence laws can differ in each state, and a lawyer for negligence can assist you with the rules in your area.

Sidhu Personal Injury Lawyers Edmonton can be your guide through the state’s laws on negligence in motor vehicle accidents. Our team can give you the right advice and, if necessary, represent you in court. 

Call us now.

Frequently Asked Questions

Drivers must be careful on the road to avoid hurting others, as the law requires. But what does that mean exactly? Let’s break it down with some examples.

Driving at a Safe Speed

  • Drivers should go at a reasonable speed based on traffic, road conditions, visibility, and weather.
  • Even if you’re going the speed limit, it could be considered careless if conditions are challenging, like bad weather or near a school where kids might be crossing.

Staying Alert and Watchful

  • Drivers must pay attention and watch for other cars, pedestrians, and any potential dangers on the road.
  • They need to notice things like any careful person would. Not doing so could be seen as carelessness.

Keeping Control of the Car

  • Drivers are expected always to have control of their vehicle. It might be considered careless if a car loses control, like flipping over or going off the road.

Accidents happen all the time, especially when people are driving. Crashes can occur at stoplights, intersections, or parking lots, and usually, nobody plans for them. That’s why they’re called accidents—they’re not on purpose.

But sometimes, the law says that a crash is caused by someone being careless. This means the person who was not careful is legally responsible for the crash. They must pay for any harm caused, like injuries or vehicle damage.

You might have done something that contributed to the accident in which you were injured. Perhaps you were driving too fast or forgot to use your turn signal. If the other driver is more at fault than you, your chances of receiving compensation typically remain the same.

In a few jurisdictions, if you share any blame for a car accident, you might not receive compensation from other drivers if you go to court. This strict rule is called “contributory negligence.” However, in most places, there’s a more lenient rule called “comparative negligence.” This means that even if you’re partially at fault, you can still receive compensation from others involved in the accident.

 

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