Does There Need to Be a Collision for You to Have a Claim for Injury or Loss?
It happens more than you would think. You’re on the highway, passing another vehicle, when the driver veers into your lane and doesn’t see you because you’re in his blind spot. Or a driver fails to look both ways before making a turn and crosses into your path. What happens if you take evasive action in such circumstances and manage to avoid a collision but end up crashing into a ditch, telephone pole, or other object? Does there have to be contact with another vehicle for you to have a personal injury claim?
Fortunately, the answer is no. Motor vehicle accident claims, like other personal injury lawsuits, are usually based on the legal principle of negligence. You don’t need to show impact, only negligence on the part of the other driver.
What Constitutes Negligence?
The law assumes that every person in society has a duty to exercise reasonable care at all times, including while operating a motor vehicle. To succeed in a lawsuit alleging negligence, you first must show that the defendant (the person from whom you seek compensation) failed to meet the standard of care. That standard is not written into law anywhere but is determined by the jury. Ultimately, the jury looks at the actions of the defendant and decides whether they were reasonable.
Once you’ve shown that defendant breached the duty of care, you must demonstrate that the failure to act reasonably caused the accident and that you suffered actual damages as a result.
In a motor vehicle accident case where there was no collision, the court will determine whether the actions of the defendant (e.g., the failure to look before changing lanes or making a turn) rose to the level of negligence. It won’t matter that there was no impact.
Contact the Law Office of Howard D. Popper
For a free initial consultation to learn about your rights after a vehicle accident, contact our office online or call 973-993-8787 to set up an appointment. We have offices in Morristown and Newton. Currently, all our client communications are by phone, text message, or online videoconference.
We handle all motor vehicle accident claims on a contingency basis. You won’t pay any attorney fees unless we recover damages for your losses.