Accident Negligence Defined

Being able to identify when someone else’s actions can be considered negligent is important if you are involved in an accident. When faced with negligence, you can usually collect compensation from their insurance company, or through a lawsuit against them.

Negligence is any behavior that lacks the level of care that someone else with common sense would have acted with in the same situation. This can refer to actions as well as a lack of action when the person had a “duty to act”, such as victims of an accident caused by that person.

Negligent Conduct

Accident negligence is most easily identified when a person’s actions, or lack thereof, specifically caused injury or suffering to another person. The requirements for an “injury” in a negligence case include either bodily harm, which can include emotional distress in some cases, or harm to your personal or real property (such as land).

To prove a case against the responsible party, you must be able to prove that they did, in fact, have a legal duty to help you, that they did breach that duty, you suffered because of it and you have hard evidence that your injuries or property damages were caused by the event.

According to the case United States v. Carroll Towing Co., negligence liability can be determined if the burden of taking precautions is less than the probability of loss multiplied by the gravity of personal resulting loss or injury. If this is true, the person responsible for the incident should be charged with some or all of the liability.

Duty to Act

You or your lawyer will be responsible for proving that the other party had a duty to act in the accident. There are a few ways to determine this, including:

  • The responsible person created the situation that caused your injuries
  • The other person knew their actions could potentially cause you harm
  • You were involved in a certain type of relationship, such as between businesses and their customers

Fair Trial

Sometimes it isn’t a straightforward task to determine the other person’s duty to act or their overall level of negligence in unusual situations. But, in accidents resulting from DWI or other preventable circumstances, you should be able to collect the evidence required to win your case and obtain the settlement you need to cover your medical bills or repairs for damaged property.

Speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Trenton, NJ to determine what you need to do next if you have been injured by someone’s negligent actions.


Thanks to Davis & Brusca for their insight into personal injury claims and accident negligence.