September 6, 2012

What is Negligence? Part 1

Lawsuit Financial is a company that provides lawsuit cash advances to plaintiffs involved in a lawsuit. Although the company does not engage in the active practice of law, founder and CEO, Mark Bello, has been an attorney for 37 years; he practiced personal injury law for 25 years before going into the lawsuit funding business. Over the years, Mr. Bello has witnessed the devastating impact of negligence. Most personal injury lawsuits result when a person or persons is injured as the result of another person or persons' negligence. But what is negligence?

Simply stated negligence is a careless act that causes serious injury or death to another person. When a person acts without care and creates a dangerous situation that leads to injuries or death, he/she may be held liable for damages. A perfect example is a case in which a pregnant woman was severely injured while riding in an ambulance. The ambulance driver was found negligent; he was not only speeding, but distracted while reaching for a tracking device that had fallen on the floor of the vehicle. The innocent victim was left with lifelong disabilities – a traumatic brain injury and a severed spinal cord. Her baby was born prematurely, but fortunately survived despite weighing less than 3 pounds.

Mr. Bello said, “Auto accidents are the most common personal injury claims filed today, but it is important to note that not every auto accident will result in litigation.” As in any claim, in order to establish negligence, the injured victim must prove:

• there was a duty to act (action to prevent harm)
• there was a failure of the duty to act; failure to conform to the required standard of care
• this failure was the direct cause of harm
• harm was caused

When we get behind the wheel, we owe a duty to drive safely to everyone on the roadways. That duty includes:

• Driving safely.
• Maintaining control of the vehicle at all times
• Obeying the speed limit
• Following road signs
• Driving at a reasonable speed based on the conditions of the road
• Avoiding distractions such as texting, talking on the phone, applying make-up, or eating, etc.
• Keeping the vehicle well maintained – check for worn tires, replace headlights and wipers as needed, etc.

Are you negligent when you get behind the wheel and text? Are you negligent when you get behind the wheel and talk on the phone? When you get behind the wheel and eat? When you get behind the wheel and follow a GPS? The answer to all of these is, yes! Please, the next time, and every time, you get behind the wheel, exercise due care. Drive responsibly and safely: concentrate on you duties as a driver and avoid these, and other, common distractions!