At Thomas, Conrad & Conrad, our auto accident attorneys and knowledgeable legal team are committed to helping clients understand the law and their rights. Determining fault in a motor vehicle accident can be challenging. Understanding the legal concepts of negligence and reasonable caution can help you better comprehend what’s involved when assigning fault in a personal injury claim.
What Does Reasonable Caution Mean?
All drivers have a legal duty to practice reasonable caution and follow traffic laws to avoid harming others on the road. If a motorist fails to use reasonable caution or care, they may be liable for any accidents caused by their negligence.
Examples of specific requirements for reasonable caution under the law include:
- Driving at a sensible speed. Motorists are required by law to drive at a reasonable speed. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean simply obeying the speed limit. Traffic jams, inclement weather, visibility and other factors can impact the speed limit that may be considered reasonable by law enforcement. For example, if there was a snowstorm that made driving at the speed limit dangerous, you could be held responsible for any accident you caused if you were driving too fast for conditions, even if you were driving under the speed limit and obeying other traffic laws.
- Being alert and attentive. All drivers have a duty to stay alert and keep a careful lookout for other vehicles, motorcyclists, bicyclists, pedestrians and hazards on the road. If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by another driver who was texting, talking on the phone or distracted by other activities, seeking the counsel of an experienced auto accident attorney is vital to ensure that person is held responsible for your damages.
- Maintaining control of the vehicle. It’s reasonable to expect motorists to keep their vehicles under control at all times. For example, if you are unable to stop quickly and hit the car in front of you because you were traveling too close behind, you may be liable for any accidents or injuries that are caused by your failure to practice reasonable caution.
- Maintaining and using equipment. Drivers must know how to properly use vehicle equipment, such as lights and windshield wipers. It’s also drivers’ responsibility to make sure their cars are appropriately maintained and in good working order.
Proving Negligence In Auto Accident Cases
Reasonable caution or care falls under the legal umbrella of negligence. According to the Legal Information Institute, negligence is “a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.”
In an auto accident case, the injured plaintiff must show that the defendant was the negligent party and had a legal obligation to be reasonably careful or cautious. In determining whether a driver was sufficiently careful, the law compares the driver’s conduct with the conduct expected of a “reasonable person.” For example, stopping at red lights and watching out for pedestrians is considered reasonable behavior. If a driver fails to act as a reasonable person would have been expected to act, they have violated their duty of reasonable caution.
An Auto Accident Attorney Can Help You Make Sense Of It All
If you’ve been injured or have lost a loved one in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence, our auto accident attorneys can help you get the compensation and justice you deserve. Call Thomas, Conrad & Conrad at 610-867-2900 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.