Basics of Auto Accident Case

Welcome to our new personal injury blog. Over the next several weeks and months, I will discuss key elements of personal injury cases, emerging issues in personal injury law and significant personal injury cases. It is important to start with the basics, so I would like to address the most common type of personal injury cases which are motor vehicle accidents. With any car accident case, there are two parties involved, the plaintiff and the defendant. The plaintiff is the motorist who suffered personal injury and/or property damage. The defendant is the other motorist (and their insurance company) involved in the accident. The plaintiff has the burden of proof. In every car accident case, four (4) basic elements must be proven by the plaintiff to win at trial. The elements are as follows:

1. Duty;

2. Breach of Duty;

3. Causation; and

4. Damages.

Duty refers to the basic principle that all motorists have a duty to drive their cars safely. This includes following all traffic laws and criminal laws, such as drunk driving. A motorist has "breached their duty" when they do not operate their cars safely. In some accident cases, such as hitting a parked car, it is very easy to show that one motorist is responsible for causing the accident. In other cases, it can be more difficult to determine who is at fault for the accident.

Causation and damages are closely linked and mean that by not driving their car safely, a motorist caused the accident and you were damaged by the accident. Damages are very broad and can include personal injury to you, property damage to your vehicle, lost wages if you cannot work and pain and suffering.

For more information regarding personal injury cases, please be sure to continue to follow our blog or contact us at the Law Offices of Robert H. Humphrey (401) 816-5862 or e-mail us at

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