When you get hurt in a car accident, you can be compensated for the injuries you suffer from medical expenses to emotional trauma. However, collecting these damages requires proving that the driver bore responsibility for the accident, and this can sometimes be complicated.
In criminal law, one needs to prove that an offence was committed if the offender had the necessary mensrea and in the case of a car accident, the tests to be applied are; intention, recklessness and negligence.
Intention is where a reasonable person (driver) foresees that his about to cause an accident and can avoid it but does nothing to avoid it. For recklessness, is where a reasonable person (driver) foresees that his about to cause an accident but he does not care about the consequences and goes ahead to drive carelessly and finally negligence is when a reasonable person (driver) foresees that his about to cause an accident but he does nothing to stop it.
APPLYING NEGLIGENCE TO THE CASE
Negligence is the core concept that comes into play when trying to determine who holds the blame for an accident. There are essentially three elements to negligence, and all three have to be established in order for one to be compensated. The first is duty of care. The law establishes that all drivers have a responsibility to be safe behind the wheel and not put others in danger.
The second is the breach of the duty. This is when you must prove that the driver violated the duty of care placed on all drivers, by acting irresponsibly, making a grossly poor decision, or failing to act in a way that a reasonable person would have acted.
The third element is damages. This is when you must prove that as a result of the breach you suffered injuries.
WHAT DAMAGES CAN I COLLECT?
In a car accident, you can be eligible for a wide range of damages, including hospital expenses, medical procedures, rehabilitation, and transportation. You might be eligible for damage to your ability to enjoy life, for emotional trauma, loss of companionship, pain and suffering and more. In severe cases usually involving driving under the influence of alcohol you might even be awarded punitive damages.
However, there’s what we call contributory negligence and this principle is to the effect that a person cannot get 100% compensation if it is established that that person was also negligent to some extent for example boarding a motor vehicle that has no side mirrors. For example, if it is established that you bore 20% of the fault for the accident. Your total compensation will be reduced by that amount. Since 20% of 500,000/= is 100,000/=, you’ll only be awarded 400,000/= of the total damages.
To collect these damages, however, you’ll need help to establish full negligence and there is no better person to do this except an advocate.