Negligence is a legal theory often used in automobile accident cases. A driver must use care to avoid injuring other motorists, passengers, or pedestrians. If a driver is not reasonably careful and injures someone as a result, the driver may be liable for injuring the accident victim. In order to prove that a driver was negligent, it may be necessary to show the following:
- Reasonable Care: In Michigan car accident cases, the law requires drivers to be careful when encountering anyone they meet on the road. This is called the "duty of reasonable care."
- Driver not Careful: In determining whether a driver was sufficiently careful, the law compares the driver's conduct with the conduct expected of a "reasonable person." If the driver’s behavior falls short of how a reasonable person would have acted, the vehicle driver has violated the duty of reasonable care.
- Driver Caused Injuries: A victim must show that the driver’s actions or inactions caused the injuries sustained in Michigan.
- Victim Damages: Auto accident victims are entitled to compensation for injuries, lost wages or earnings, property damage as well as pain and suffering.
Duties of a Michigan Driver
The law requires drivers to use reasonable care to avoid harming anyone encountered on the road. These can include:
- Driving speed. Drivers have a duty to drive at a reasonable, prudent speed. A person who drives at a speed that is unreasonable in light of the existing traffic, road, visibility, and weather conditions may be negligent.
- Driver Inattention. Drivers have a duty to be alert and to maintain a careful lookout for other vehicles, pedestrians, and road hazards. A failure to keep a proper lookout can constitute negligence. Inattention can take on many forms including:
- looking at something or someone by the side of the road
- - looking at a map or a piece of paper
- - reading the newspaper or a book
- - changing the station on the radio
- - looking at a cell phone
- - texting
- - getting something out of the glove compartment
- - adjusting the seat
- - looking into the back seat
- - eating or drinking while driving
- Maintaining and using the car's equipment. Drivers are expected to maintain their vehicles in safe working order throughout the state of Michigan.
- Driver Impairment: In a car accident case, one obvious way that a driver can be negligent is to be intoxicated or under the influence of drugs while driving, but taking certain prescription medication can also be negligent. In fact, drunk drivers alone hurt someone in a car accident in the United States about every 90 seconds and every day, drunk drivers kill about 28 people in fatal auto collisions.
Michigan Driver Attention
Driver inattention accounts for many automobile accidents involving driver negligence.
Proper driving actually requires a great deal of attention. While a momentary lapse of concentration does not seem dangerous, simple laws of physics show that it is and without preparation and the proper "defensive" maneuvers, motorists are more likely to crash. While the mind focuses on a non-driving activity, the vehicle cannot adapt to changes in traffic. The most common causes of preventable accidents include:
- Delayed braking
- Speed violations
- Sudden lane changes
- Failure to check blind spot
- Taking wrong entrance/exit
- Swerving into adjacent lanes
- Lack of space between vehicles
Contact a Michigan Auto Accident Lawyer
Some type of human error is a contributing factor in at least 90 percent of all car accidents that occur in the United States. If you are involved in an automobile accident where the individual responsible for the crash acted negligently, it is imperative to speak to a Michigan car accident attorney as soon as possible. Please do not hesitate to call Michigan Injury Lawyers at 313-GET-HELP for a free consultation today.