New York City Personal Injury Law Blog
What does Negligence Really Mean in Accident Cases
Posted on Oct 26, 2014 in Legal Terminology
Negligence is a common term you will hear in personal injury cases, whether it is an accident case, medical malpractice case, or wrongful death case. It is important to know what negligence actually means, since the whole case is mainly based on proving negligence. When we talk of negligence, it means carelessness, or the lack of reasonable care.
Hence, when we consider a medical negligence case, it is medical carelessness. In accident cases, it has to do with carelessness in driving. Drivers have to keep to the rules of the road. For instance, you should not drive through a red light, since you can cause an accident and possibly kill someone. Therefore, if you drive through a red light you are careless or negligent, and you will be legally responsible for the injuries and damages you have caused by this negligence and the ensuing accident.
In a medical malpractice case, it is a bit different, since there are no clear-cut rules as when you drive a car. However, there are standards of care that a doctor must follow while treating patients for specific health problems or conditions. When a doctor violates these basic standards of medical care, then the doctor is said to be medically careless or medically negligent. Moreover, due to such carelessness, the patient should have suffered serious harm and injury.
The victim’s lawyer will have to show to the jury that they are more likely right than wrong, and that the doctor or driver was careless. Such a negligent person now becomes legally obligated to compensate the injured person for the injuries and harm. After this, the jury will decide the amount of compensation the victim should receive. Therefore, negligence forms one of the most important elements of any personal injury or wrongful death case. The victim’s lawyer will have to prove to the jury how the other party was negligent, and due to such negligence, the victim suffered harm and injuries.
Proving negligence in accident cases will be mainly based on breaking traffic rules. However, when no traffic rules are broken, negligence will depend on how the driver reacted in the particular situation. If the driver’s actions suggest that he acted out of no regard for the safety of others, then he has been negligent. Hence, duty of care applies to accident cases as well. The driver is expected to do things and take preventive measures that will keep others drivers and people on the road safe. If the driver does not maintain such care, he is careless or negligent, and will be liable for the injuries caused to others.
You might have heard of negligence many times before, but now its basic meaning and its legal implications are made quite clear. It is important to know the exact meaning and implication of negligence when you are talking about an accident or medical malpractice incident.