Legally speaking, a duty of care is an obligation to avoid injuring someone or placing them in a dangerous situation – breaching this duty will typically result in a finding of negligence. Driving a motor vehicle comes with a legal responsibility, or a duty of care, to drive in a way that will not hurt other motorists or pedestrians. The ‘duty’ of all drivers is to follow the rules of the road and to exercise common sense.
Determining whether someone has breached their duty of care when driving is fairly clear-cut. If there are speed limits posted, then exceeding that limit is a violation of the established rules of the road. If the roads are icy and a motorist does not adjust his or her driving for the potentially dangerous conditions, that runs counter to how a ‘reasonable person would act’ showing a lack of common sense.
If a motorist is found to have breached their duty of care resulting in a car accident, the next issue is establishing causation. Did driving through the dense fog at a high rate of speed cause the motorist to strike the back-end of another vehicle or was it the fault of the motorist who failed to pull off the road when stopped? Did running the red light cause the accident at an intersection or did the other motorist make their turn after the light changed? Sometimes arguments regarding causation are not ‘all-or-nothing’ but a measure of how much each person’s negligence contributed to an accident, and therefore how much each person should be responsible for resulting injuries or damages.
In legal lingo, ‘damages’ refers to the physical and emotional injuries, property damage, and lost income someone suffers as the result of an accident. Damages is shorthand for a monetary figure of what is needed to compensate for these losses. If someone else is legally responsible for an accident, you may collect compensation for injuries, pain and suffering and lost wages related directly to the accident. If a motorist has breached the duty of care causing an accident, they (along with their insurance carrier if applicable) will be responsible for paying damages. If the negligent motorist was driving while working for someone else, a third party such as a trucking company may also be subject to consequences. If both drivers contributed to the accident, a percentage will be assigned to the responsible parties.
Determining Fault in an Iowa Motor Vehicle Accident
Experience matters – Contact an Experienced Iowa Car Accident Attorney
Not sure who is at fault in an Iowa motor vehicle accident, contact the Law Offices of Stoltze & Stolze PLC for immediate assistance. We are here to help you pursue fair and just compensation for your losses. Contact us today online or by telephone at 515-244-1473 to arrange a free initial consultation with a Des Moines car accident attorney.