By: Darrell Castle
Sometimes negligence is obvious and sometimes you have to prove it
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How do you prove negligence in a car accident case?
Hello this is Darrell Castle and I’m an attorney licensed to practice law in the state of Tennessee and the answer to that question is, sometimes it’s pretty obvious. You really don’t have to prove anything.
If you’re driving down the street and you stop at a red light and someone slams into the back of your car, then that’s pretty obvious. There’s not really much to be proven there negligence wise.
But sometimes, it’s not so obvious. Who ran the red light?
Sometimes you have a situation where one person runs a red light and they both say, “no, the light was green for me and red for the other person.” Well, obviously there you need witnesses. You need somebody to tell you, who is completely outside the accident (a neutral party in other words) who ran the red light. So you do that through introduction of eyewitness testimony.
You can also do it with the introduction of accident scene photographs and accident scene investigations – skid marks and things of that nature. In more complicated cases, you may hire an accident reconstruction specialist. He comes down and looks at the scene and looks at the damage on the vehicles and he reconstructs the accident using his years of training.
Those are things you might do in a very severe case where you’re in a lawsuit and you have to depose witnesses.
You have to prove not only who caused the accident – which is what negligence really is – but you also have to prove what damage you suffered. Your medical injuries in other words. You have to do that through medical testimony. Everything you’re saying you’ve suffered has to be proven with medical testimony and since doctors can’t be forced to come to court and testify, you have to take their depositions and that can be very expensive. It can be $600-$800 sometimes to depose a doctor who says “yes, this man did have a cracked vertebrate” or whatever it is that you had.
Now, that is proving negligence in court. Obviously to go to that expense and trouble it has to be an accident that justifies it and there has to be insurance or the ability to pay the award that is out there if you’re successful.
But folks, I want to emphasize that in most auto cases, there’s not that much proof involved. Rear-end accidents, intersection accidents (somebody ran the intersection and you’ve got eye witnesses) – those types of things are the way most accidents happen.
Sometimes it has to be proven though, folks. That’s why you need an attorney that knows what he’s doing.