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How does duty of care factor into liability for a crash?

How does duty of care factor into liability for a crash?

If you've read a number of our posts, like some of our more frequent readers have, then you probably have a good idea of what legal actions can be taken following an accident in our state. There are subtleties though in our laws that can make all the difference when it comes to compensation in a personal injury case, which is a fact we wanted to highlight in today's post.

Take for example a case involving negligence such as a drunk-driving accident or a collision because of cellphone use. According to California's tort laws, a driver can be considered negligent if the plaintiff in a personal injury claim can prove the following five elements:

  • There was a duty of care owed to the victim
  • That duty of care was breached
  • The breach directly resulted in injury to the victim
  • The defendant's actions were foreseeable as being reckless or dangerous
  • The victim suffered actual damages

In a lot of tort cases, duty of care is considered the element most at play when assessing liability. How this works in California is that if a level of care was expected from the driver and that expectation was violated by the driver's actions, then they could be considered negligent under the elements of the law. The degree of negligence and how at fault the driver is considered to have been in the accident can both play a role in assessing the correct amount of compensation that should be paid to the victim or victims of the crash.

If you've ever filed a personal injury claim in our state, you know that it's easy to state what the law will do in cases of accidents but that the process itself can be actually very complicated and frustrating. With the right lawyer at your side though, these frustrations can be mitigated as a lawyer can make sure that your rights are being protected and the correct assessment of the law is being made in the end.

Source: FindLaw, "California Negligence Laws," Accessed April 2, 2015

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