Negligence is when a person fails to practice an expected level of care and this failure causes harm to another person, whether this means physical or psychological damage. Car accidents can cause both physical injuries and psychological distress that come with expensive medical bills and lost wages. This is why drivers are entitled to a certain amount of compensation if they are hit by a negligent driver. Talk to a Tennessee auto accident lawyer today if this has happened to you.
Basics of Negligence
When it comes to car accidents, there are two main types of negligence.
Comparative negligence is assigned to people when both drivers are considered partially at fault. The judge will remove a percentage of your compensation based on how much you were deemed at fault for the accident. This means that, if you were found 30% at fault for the accident, you will only receive 70% of compensation.
Contributory negligence means you will not receive any compensation at all if you were found partly at fault. There are no percentages used for compensation. Many states have done away with this type of negligence because of its all-or-nothing nature.
What is Driver Negligence?
To determine driver negligence, you need to look at common traffic laws first. Anything that deviates from common traffic laws is usually considered negligent by insurance companies and the legal system. For example, running a stop sign will be called negligent if the driver running the stop sign hits another car. This is because traffic laws are designed to protect other drivers on the road, so anyone who breaks these rules will automatically be blamed for the accident.
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is also considered negligent driving. Mind-altering substances like these significantly impair necessary mental processes for safe driving like attention, coordination, vision, and reaction speed. A driver who chooses to drive while drunk is to blame because they made the choice to do so.
On that note, there are instances where accidents are considered genuine accidents, like when a driver has a heart attack and unintentionally runs into another car. The same logic applies to similar involuntary medical conditions like fainting or going into a diabetic coma. However, this will not likely work for people who fall asleep at the wheel because the driver chose to drive while drowsy. It is generally considered unsafe to drive drowsy in the same way that drinking while driving is considered unsafe.