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  • Writer's pictureThe Oakes Firm Publishing

What You Need to Prove in a Motor Vehicle Accident Lawsuit

Updated: Mar 1, 2023


Motor vehicle accident lawsuits traditionally fall under general negligence (or carelessness) principles. In every negligence case, you have to prove four elements in order to recover money:


1. Duty - The Defendant Had a Duty to You


Duty is a legal concept that a person or entity is required to adhere to some standard of care for your wellbeing. In the context of motor vehicles, everyone owes a duty to obey all traffic laws and – in some case – follow industry standards or their employer’s safety instructions.


2. Breach of Duty - The Defendant Breached Their Duty to You


Breach of Duty is when a driver fails to adhere to a Duty they had to you. For example, this occurs when a defendant operates their vehicle carelessly, violates a traffic law, or fails to abide by industry standards or their employer’s instructions.


3. Causation - The Defendant’s Breach of Their Duty Caused Your Injuries/Damages


Causation simply means that it was the defendant’s Breach of Duty that caused you to be injured or damaged.


4. Damages - You Were Injured


Damages means that you were hurt in some way. There are many types of damages recoverable under the law, including pain and suffering, emotional distress, scarring/disfigurement, loss of life’s pleasures, loss of past and future income, and costs for past and future medical care.


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Please understand that this is an oversimplified overview of the law as it relates to motor vehicle accidents and negligence. Even a simple lawsuit may have many nuances that only an experienced attorney can address. In many cases, The Oakes Firm hires professional “experts” to help prove your claims – e.g., a crash reconstructionist; a life care planner; a vocational rehabilitation specialist; and an economist.

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