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Cincinnati Lawyer: Negligence Claims and Car Accidents

Jul 22, 2010
4 min read

Cincinnati Car Crash Cases: What are they all about?

Generally speaking, car accidents are the result of someone’s negligence or carelessness, and often result in serious or catastrophic injury. Cars are fast, powerful and very capable to causing pain to human beings. Rarely do car crashes result from intentional acts or recklessness, although this does happen on occasion. If a lawsuit is filed following a car wreck in Cincinnati because a passenger or driver is injured, it will generally allege the tort of negligence. Negligence consists of (1) duty; (2) breach; (3) causation; and (4) damages. Let’s break that down more specifically in a car crash situation.

Duty

Cincinnati drivers owe each other a duty of reasonable care. That is, we all are expected to follow the “rules of the road” and drive like a reasonably prudent person. This duty also applies to pedestrians and bicyclists. When we fail to drive reasonably, we breach that duty.

Breach

To say that a person “breached” his or her duty of reasonable care is simply to say that he or she failed in his or her duty. This can come about in a number of ways. Examples include: running a red light or stop sign, failing to yield, crossing a double yellow line, rear-ending the car in front (i.e., failure to maintain an assured clear distance ahead), etc..

Causation

The third element of a negligence action is “causation” of damages. That is, the injured party needs to prove that the breach or failure caused harm to him or her. Sometimes this is very straight forward, other times it is not so simple. For example, say a Cincinnati drunk driver going 50 miles per hour blows through a stop sign and “t-bones” a van. The persons in the van are seriously injured (lacerations, broken bones, herniated discs, scarring, etc.). In this instance, it would be quite clear that the drunk driver caused harm to the passengers in the van. However, assume instead that the drunk driver was only traveling 10 miles per hour and merely scraped the back of the van causing it to shake and turn. The persons in the van are shaken up and one individual wakes up a few days later with neck pain. Let us further assume the individual with neck pain had two previous neck surgeries one year prior. In that instance it would more difficult, although not impossible, to prove that the drunk driver caused neck pain in that individual.

Damages

Finally, those injured in Cincinnati accidents will need to prove damages. That is, they need to prove that they were harmed in the crash. In looking at the first example above, it would be quite simple to prove harm was done to the passengers with broken bones, cuts, etc..However, in looking at the second example, it would be more difficult to prove the harm caused to the individual’s neck as much of the harm could have been “pre-existing.”

If you would like to schedule a free consultation to discuss your negligence claim please use the form to the right or call 513-737-5180.

McKenzie & Snyder LLP practices injury law in Cincinnati, Colerain, Northside, College Hill, Finneytown, Forest Park, Hamilton, Fairfield, West Chester, Arlington Heights, Mt. Healthy, Oxford, Dayton, Middletown and more. Andrew R. Tobergte is the senior associate attorney at McKenzie & Snyder LLP.

Written by Andrew Tobergte


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