Cars Accident

Understanding “Duty of Reasonable Care” in Car Accidents

Understanding "Duty of Reasonable Care" in Car Accidents

In car accidents where negligence is an issue on the part of one of the drivers, the phrase, “duty of reasonable care” is always significant. This phrase is the legal description that defines the responsibility of each driver on the road has to do their absolute best in avoiding car accidents that injure and cause financial loss to others.
But what exactly is reasonable care according to the law? Well, it’s made up of several elements.
Obey the Speed Limit
As definitions go, the speed limit is as clear as they come. Following the speed limit at all times is an excellent way to keep yourself safe from a car accident, and ignoring the speed limit is an excellent way to cause one.
This specific duty doesn’t just cover the standard posted speed limit during regular times. It also addresses school zones and the need to decrease driving speeds during inclement weather conditions. While one part of this duty may be to observe all posted speed limits, the second part relies on drivers to realize when dangerous conditions on the road merit slowing down.
Be in Control of Your Automobile
The dangers of distracted driving fit the definition of this duty. If your focus is on changing the song on your music player, you are far more likely to lose control of your automobile at the time when you most need that control. This too often results in a car accident.
Even if you are the most skilled, practiced driver imaginable, keep both hands on the wheel and pay attention at all times, as staying in control of the vehicle you are operating is your legal duty.
Obey all Applicable Laws
This should go without saying, but all laws should be obeyed when driving. This means that driving under the influence or ignoring posted pedestrian crossings becomes failure to uphold your “duty of reasonable care,” and may automatically open you up to being found negligent in the event of a car accident.
Maintain Your Automobile
Many states have enacted laws that require drivers to have their automobiles inspected regularly, but even in states where these laws do not exist, drivers are expected to keep their cars maintained and up to safe standards. Failing to do so can be used as evidence of negligence in otherwise straightforward car accident cases.
For example, when you are rear-ended in a car accident, the assumption is generally that the person who rear-ended you was following too closely. However, if it’s later discovered that your brake lights weren’t working, you become the legally negligent party.
If Your Car Accident Case Goes to Court
The intricacies of the “duty of reasonable care” can be confusing, which is why so many people find it helpful to seek the assistance of an experienced automobile accident attorney following a wreck. The help of someone who not only understands the multiple definitions of this duty, but also knows the applicable local ordinances and how to properly interpret them, can be your best tool in protecting yourself or receiving your due damages following a car accident.