Proving negligence is a necessary part of nearly every personal injury case. Negligence generally means that someone was careless or reckless, but it also has a very specific set of facts that you must show in a personal injury case. Proving these facts can be difficult, but if you can show that the defendant violated a law and that violation caused an accident, then it is much easier to prove that the defendant was negligent.
What are some examples of negligence per se?
Perhaps the easiest way to understand negligence per se is to consider a few examples. The most common form is found in a Georgia car accident case. Georgia follows the Uniform Rules of the Road, and when a driver violates those rules and causes an accident, then negligence per se has occurred. The most common examples of violations include:
- Running through or ignoring traffic lights
- Running through stop signs
- Failing to yield the right of way (to pedestrians or other vehicles)
- Failing to signal a turn or lane change
- Texting (or using a phone) while driving
Negligence per se can extend beyond car accident claims as well. For example, in dog bite cases, a dog is considered vicious under Georgia law if it is not properly restrained when there is a leash law in effect. This is another form of negligence per se. Dog owners are required to keep their vicious dogs restrained, and failing to do that is negligence. If there is a leash law in effect, then a violation of that law is negligence per se, and the dog’s owner will likely be liable if that dog bites someone.
Does proving negligence per se mean that I will win my case automatically?
Not quite. Although you have done most of the work to prove your claim, you must still take some additional steps to win your case. Negligence per se creates a “presumption” of negligence, but the defendant can present evidence that overrides that presumption in some circumstances. Negligence per se shifts the burden of proof to the defendant—and off of you. This is very good for your case.
For the person who caused your injury, it’s a difficult burden. They (the defendant) would essentially have to show that the violation of the law was not intentional and that they were actually exercising ordinary care. Often, the only circumstance where disobeying the law would be an exercise of ordinary care is in an emergency situation. If, for example, another driver was trying to get out of the way of an ambulance, then that might be grounds for going through a stop sign.
You also still have to prove the amount and nature of your damages after an accident as well. John Foy & Associates can help you gather the information and evidence you need to present the best case possible. Let us put our over 20 years of experience to work for you. Fill out the form to your right or call us at 404-400-4000 to get your FREE consultation today.