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How does negligence apply to motor vehicle accident claims?

Sometimes car accidents happen during your daily commute. Other times they happen on your way to the grocery store or coming home from a party. Ultimately, though, most of the time no one anticipates being involved in a motor vehicle accident on any given day. Unfortunately, Missouri is no stranger to car crashes. When a person is involved in an auto accident that leaves them with injuries, they may want to pursue a legal claim against the responsible party.

In general, motor vehicle accident claims are based on the legal theory of "negligence." Motorists have a legal duty to drive reasonably under the circumstances. If they breach this duty, and the breach is both the actual and proximate cause of an accident that injures or kills another person, then the motorist may be responsible for compensating the accident victim for any damages suffered. It is the plaintiff in a negligence case who carries the burden of proving that the defendant was negligent and that all the elements of a negligence claim are met. Only once these legal elements are proven can compensation be recovered.

Keep in mind that upholding your duty of care means more than simply following traffic rules and regulations. For example, if it is rainy or snowy, the reasonable way to drive may be to drive below the posted speed limit. Of course, failing to follow traffic laws, drunk driving, and reckless driving also breach a motorist's duty of care.

This is only a brief overview of negligence in motor vehicle accident cases. This post does not contain legal advice. Those who have been injured in a car crash and are wondering if they can bring a personal injury claim based on negligence will want to discuss the matter with a professional who can help them make informed decisions moving forward.

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