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How negligence is proved in civil lawsuits

| Jun 12, 2019 | Personal Injury |

When car accident victims in Pennsylvania file lawsuits against the motorists who injured them, their litigation is usually based on allegations of negligence. To prove the civil law tort of negligence, plaintiffs must convince a jury that the defendant was required to take reasonable care and failed to meet this legal duty. They must also be able to establish that their harm was suffered as a direct consequence of the defendant’s negligent actions.

Every state requires drivers to remain vigilant at all times and obey motor vehicle traffic laws, so establishing that a duty of care existed is not usually a challenge in car accident lawsuits. Proving that motorists failed to meet this duty is also fairly straightforward when the drivers who caused accidents broke the law. Personal injury attorneys generally study police reports when representing car accident victims as they may reveal that drivers were intoxicated when they crashed or committed a moving violation in the moments before a collision.

Motorists are also expected to make sure that their vehicles do not pose a threat to other road users, and attorneys may have the cars involved in a collision inspected when it seems likely that this duty was not met. In addition to looking for signs of faulty repairs, malfunctioning safety systems and shoddy repairs, vehicle inspectors could retrieve the electronic data stored on modern cars. This information could also establish negligence by revealing that drivers failed to take actions that could have prevented a crash.

Convincing a jury that the plaintiff’s injuries were a direct result of the defendant’s negligent actions is usually done by calling doctors to the witness stand to provide expert medical testimony. If their clients were not wearing their seat belts when they were injured or committed a moving violation themselves, experienced personal injury attorneys may prepare this part of the case carefully to ensure that their arguments can withstand claims of comparative negligence made by the defendant.