When people are hurt in a New York car accident, they may wonder who can be held accountable for their injuries. Thousands of people are killed or seriously injured each year in auto accidents, and many of these crashes are caused by negligent drivers. While some accidents may be caused by mechanical failures, poor weather or wildlife in the road, most crashes can be traced back to specific behavior by a driver. When considering auto accidents, negligence has a specific legal definition that can determine which driver can be considered at fault for the crash.
In order to be found negligent, a person must have a duty of care to another person that was violated. All drivers have a responsibility to operate their vehicles safely, follow the rules of the road and take care to avoid injuring drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and others on the road. However, in order to be considered responsible, they must do something to violate that duty. There are a number of ways in which drivers can be negligent; for example, drowsy, drunk or distracted drivers are all breaching their duty of care to others on the road.
It must also be shown that the driver's negligence was the cause of a car accident. In some cases, a driver may be negligent in ways that were not the cause of a crash. For example, a driver who was moderately speeding may have been hit by another car that ran a red light while the driver was texting. The speeding may be a form of negligence, but it was not the cause of the crash.
People who are injured in a motor vehicle accident may suffer catastrophic damage and permanent disabilities. A personal injury lawyer may be able to help them pursue compensation for their medical bills, lost wages and other damages.