One of the most common questions a personal injury attorney gets is: “Do I have a case?” The real question, from a legal standpoint, is whether their injury was caused by an actual accident or if someone was negligent. The best way to find out for sure if you have a case is to take advantage of our offer for a free legal consultation by calling The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000. However, you can also read on to get a general idea of the difference between an accident and negligence.
What is an accident? What is negligence?
First, let’s discuss what an accident is. By definition, it means a harm, injury, damage, or loss that occurred unintentionally. On the other hand, negligence is a legal word that means a person or entity took a lack of “ordinary care.” or “skill” and that it resulted in injury or harm to a person.
Put simply, there are situations in which something bad just happened and there was nothing a person could have reasonably done to prevent it. There are times when a person intentionally hurts someone, such as assault and battery. Then there is negligence, which involves a person harming another person specifically by not doing something.
Examples of accidents and negligence
To better understand the difference, let’s consider a car accident. Car A and Car B collide with one another due to icy roads. Both cars had slowed down due to weather conditions and both obeyed traffic laws, yet their cars skidded and hit each other. In this case, it is unlikely either car would be found negligent as they both did their best to exercise caution.
Now consider an accident in which Car A runs a red light and is hit by Car B. Though Car B is the one that hit Car A, they did so as a result of Car A running the light. That would likely leave Car A negligent in the accident, despite the fact that they did not actually hit a car. They did not follow the traffic laws and the result was an accident.
Determining negligence can be very complicated
In the example above, there were just two cars involved and one was clearly behaving improperly. In the real world, this is not always the case. There may be three cars involved in a car accident, which makes it more challenging to place blame. It may be that an accident involved more than one at-fault party. In this case, comparative negligence would come into play. This is a legal term that holds each party accountable to pay the damages equally their percentage of fault.
For example, if a case was determined to have a value of $100,000 and a driver was found to be 45% at fault, then they would owe 45% of the total value – which would equal $45,000 in this example.
If you have been in an accident then we strongly urge you to contact an attorney for assistance. You can contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000 for a free legal consultation today.