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Defining negligence in motor vehicle accidents

When a motor vehicle accident happens in Arizona, it may be necessary to establish whether it is the result of negligence in a legal sense. Negligence as a legal concept rests on the assumption that the driver of a vehicle has an obligation to operate it in a way that is safe.

A number of different actions may constitute negligence. Driving above the speed limit is generally considered negligent, but a driver could also be negligent while driving under the speed limit. This might be the case in inclement weather when a driver needs to further reduce speed for safety. Similarly, cars need to leave more distance between other vehicles when roads are slick and visibility is poor. In general, drivers are supposed to obey all traffic laws. They should also remain aware of their surroundings, avoid distraction and stay in control of their vehicles. Failing to maintain certain features, such as brakes, could be negligent as could other behaviors, such as failing to wear needed glasses while driving.

Establishing negligence also requires evidence of the negligent action and proof that the negligence directly caused harm. Therefore, failure to maintain a vehicle would not be negligence if it did not contribute to the accident in any way.

If a person is injured in a drunk driving accident or another type of accident where the at-fault party is reasonably clear, that person still may struggle to get adequate compensation from the driver's insurance company. People should be aware that even if there are criminal charges against the other driver but the driver is not found guilty, a civil trial might still go in their favor. The burden of proof is lower in a civil trial. Alternatively, an attorney may be able to get compensation through negotiating with the insurance company or an out-of-court settlement.

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