February 7, 2018
When we learn how to drive, it’s usually in a way that explains the rules- who has the right of way, when you’re allowed to turn on red, which lane to turn into, etc. It all seems cut and dry and black and white. When something goes wrong and you’re involved in an accident, it’s often a driver’s first impulse to analyze the incident from the perspective of the clear rules of the road- who had the right of way at the time of the collision? Which driver was supposed to have control of the lane? It’s tempting to want to view liability along these terms, but in most states, it’s not that simple. Liability typically comes down to an analysis of two key components: duty and causation.
“Duty” is the responsibility of each driver to make sure he or she is driving in such a manner that reasonably avoids avoidable accidents. In the law, we call this the “duty of reasonable care.” Even if another driver may not have had the right of way at the time of a collision, if the driver with the right of way is found to have failed to fulfill his or her reasonable responsibility, he or she may still be liable. In other words, if the accident could have reasonably been avoided, even if an otherwise clear law of the road has been broken, a driver who breaks fails to uphold his or her responsibility can be liable even if they were not the one breaking the law. This may seem counter- intuitive, but here's an example:
It’s a foggy night and visibility is limited on a two-lane country road. Out a nowhere, a deer jumps in front of a driver who veers into the other lane at a right angle to avoid the contact. As a result, her car is perpendicular to the flow of traffic and she has to put the car in reverse to get back into her lane. Due to the shock, she takes a minute to compose herself. At that time, a driver with fog lights travelling in the opposite lane sees her from 2 miles away. Even though she is in his lane and he is not speeding, if the cars collide, it is more than likely that the driver with fog lights will be found liable. Even though the collision would have been avoided had she not been in his lane, he always already has an ongoing duty to avoid avoidable collisions. By failing that duty- he had plenty of time to stop or at least slow down considerably to minimize the harm- he is the primary cause of the collision and would therefore be liable. Liability is determined by recognizing whose failure to uphold their duty ultimately caused the collision, even sometimes without regard for the technical rules of the road.
The law firm of Daniel L. Jacobs Jr. has skilled attorneys experienced in getting you the compensation you deserve if another driver failed to uphold his or her duty to drive reasonable and responsibly.
Attorney Jacobs believes that everyone deserves a lawyer and always strives to achieve the best available legal outcomes for his clients. Attorney Jacobs cannot make promises as to what legal outcome he will be able to achieve for his clients; however, Attorney Jacobs can promise you that the care and concern he will show for you and your legal needs will be second to none. If you sustained a personal injury, the law firm of Daniel L. Jacobs Jr. LLC and Attorney Jacobs are here to assist you.
If you have any questions about financial compensation for an injury sustained in an accident or during a medical procedure, schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.
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