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Types of Negligent Acts in Car Accident Cases

Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran

There are many types of negligent acts in car accident cases, whether due to human error, mechanical failure, or poor road conditions. These accidents often result in serious injuries, property damage, and fatalities that seriously impact the lives of car crash victims.

The car accident attorneys at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. can help you determine if another driver’s negligence played a part in your collision. If their behavior resulted in your damages, we will help you seek maximum compensation.

5 Types of Negligent Acts in Car Accident Cases

Negligence refers to a driver failing to exercise the level of care that a reasonable person would in a similar situation. Understanding the types of negligent acts that can lead to car accidents is crucial in determining fault and liability in Michigan.

1. Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is one of the most common types of negligent acts in car accident cases. In 2020, Michigan had 14,236 accidents involving distracted drivers, with 48 resulting in fatalities.

According to Michigan State Police, distracted driving includes the following activities:

  • Messaging or texting
  • Looking at social media
  • Talking on the phone, including hands-free devices
  • Watching videos
  • Eating, smoking, or drinking
  • Grooming
  • Interacting with children or pets
  • Talking with passengers
  • Reaching or searching for an item
  • Looking at the roadside or accidents
  • Checking a GPS
  • Reading, including maps
  • Adjusting music or temperature controls

Michigan law prohibits the use of telephones while driving. Despite the law, Michigan had 2,394 crashes and 15 deaths in 2020 due to a driver using a cell phone.

Distracted driving makes it difficult for drivers to notice traffic signals, pedestrians, or other vehicles, leading to accidents. If you’re involved in an accident with a distracted driver, your injuries can be severe, leaving you with a lifelong disability or loss of enjoyment of life.

Our attorneys at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. can review the evidence of your case to determine if the other driver engaged in distracted driving. For example, we can subpoena their phone records to show they were texting during the crash and use this evidence to win financial compensation on your behalf.

2. Speeding

Speeding refers to driving above the posted speed limit or too fast for the current road conditions. Speeding drivers may have less control over their vehicles, reducing their ability to react to unexpected hazards. They may also have a longer stopping distance, leading to more severe collisions if an accident occurs.

In Michigan, speeding was a factor in 24,721 accidents and 215 fatal crashes in 2021. Examples of speeding can include driving over the posted speed limit, driving too fast for current road conditions, such as in heavy rain or snow, racing other vehicles, or ignoring traffic signals or signs.

If a driver was speeding and their actions caused your injuries, your attorney at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. can look for evidence and use it to win you a fair settlement. For example, if available, your legal team can use GPS or black box data to show their excessive speed.

They can also refer to police reports or photographs from the scene to identify skid marks, road signs, and weather that show they were going too fast and are liable for your injuries.

Driving Under the Influence

3. Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious type of negligent act in car accident cases, leading to multiple injuries and fatalities in Michigan. It refers to driving a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, impacting the driver’s ability to operate it safely. In 2021, alcohol-related fatalities increased by 10% from 2020 to 357 in 2021. There were 9,557 crashes involving alcohol use in Michigan that same year.

Impaired drivers may have slower reaction times, reduced coordination, impaired vision, and impaired judgment, leading to an increased risk of accidents. Examples of driving under the influence in Michigan include:

  • Driving with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of over .08 if over 21 or over .02 if under 21
  • Driving while taking prescription or over-the-counter medication that results in a drowsy state
  • Driving under the influence of illegal drugs

In addition to facing criminal charges for driving under the influence, the driver may also face civil liability for any damages caused by the accident. Your attorney from Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. can help you receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering if you suffer damages in an accident with an intoxicated driver.

They can order a copy of the police report, which recorded the driver’s BAC, and ask for copies of further testing to identify drugs or medication in the driver’s system. If the driver was served alcohol at a bar or restaurant before your accident, our attorneys may be able to seek compensation from the establishment under Michigan’s Dram Shop laws.

4. Reckless Driving

Under Michigan’s reckless driving statute, negligence can include several dangerous behaviors, such as excessive speed, aggressive driving, and failure to follow traffic laws. These behaviors show a wanton or willful disregard for the safety of others on the road.

Examples of reckless driving can include:

  • Excessive speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Weaving in and out of traffic
  • Ignoring traffic signals or signs
  • Racing other vehicles
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol

In 2021, Michigan saw thousands of accidents caused by reckless driving actions. For example, 2,692 accidents were due to reckless driving, and another 10,977 were due to careless driving. These resulted in a total of 186 deaths. In addition to physical harm, accidents caused by reckless driving often lead to emotional distress and financial hardship for victims and their families.

The auto accident lawyers at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. will investigate your crash to determine if the other driver acted recklessly. We can look for video of the crash on traffic cameras or surveillance video from nearby establishments or speak with witnesses to establish this fact.

For example, if the person who caused your injuries was drag racing, we can get witness testimony from onlookers who saw the incident. We will use this to bolster your claim and get you maximum compensation for the medical care and lost wages you suffered.

5. Failure to Follow Traffic Laws

Failure to follow traffic laws is a form of negligence that involves driving in a manner that disregards the safety of other drivers and road users. Examples of failure to obey traffic laws can include running a red light or stop sign, speeding, failure to yield to pedestrians or other vehicles, improper turning, and not using turn signals when changing lanes or turning.

In 2021, Michigan saw the following accidents due to failure to follow traffic laws:

  • Failure to yield: 43,048 accidents, 116 fatalities
  • Disregarding traffic control: 11, 081 crashes, 63 fatalities
  • Improper lane use: 13,211 accidents, 19 deaths
  • Improper turn: 5,125 collisions, 5 fatalities
  • Improper or no turn signal: 383 accidents, 1 death

Our attorneys at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. will review all evidence related to your accident, including photos of the vehicle damage, witness statements, and police reports to determine the cause of your injuries. We can work with an accident reconstructionist to analyze what actions led to the crash to pinpoint how the other driver’s failure to follow traffic laws caused your damages and hold them liable.

What Is Not Car Accident Negligence?

While collisions occur for many types of negligent acts in car accident cases, not all accidents are caused by driver negligence. Some accidents can result from vehicle defects, chain reactions, or sudden medical emergencies, which are not considered negligent acts.

Vehicle Defect

Vehicle defects refer to issues with the vehicle itself that cause the accident, such as a faulty brake system or a defective tire. These issues are not caused by driver negligence; the driver may not have been aware of the issue before the accident. In these cases, liability for the accident may fall on the parts or vehicle manufacturer.

Chain Reaction

Chain reactions refer to accidents caused by multiple drivers’ actions, making determining who was at fault difficult. For example, a pile-up on a highway may occur due to a chain reaction of drivers being unable to stop to avoid a collision. It can be challenging to determine who was negligent and liable for damages.

At Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C., our skilled attorneys can identify who is responsible for your injuries and help you file a claim against one or multiple parties for compensation.

Sudden Medical Emergency

Sudden medical emergencies can also lead to accidents, such as a driver experiencing a heart attack or seizure while behind the wheel. These medical emergencies are not caused by driver negligence and may be unforeseeable. Unless the driver knows of their medical condition, for example, they have an epilepsy or narcolepsy diagnosis; they can’t be held liable for your injuries.

Win Compensation for Your Injuries Caused by a Negligent Driver

Car accident victims often suffer injuries due to the negligent actions of other drivers on the road. In Michigan, working with the knowledgeable attorneys at Cochran, Kroll, and Associates, P.C. can protect your rights and ensure you have a fair chance of receiving a settlement for damages you suffered.

Our attorneys have won millions for auto accident victims, including a 3.3 million settlement for a man injured in a crash on a Michigan highway. We will fight for the financial compensation you deserve due to a driver’s negligent acts in your car accident case.

Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 1-866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.

Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.

Alistair MacDonald holds a bachelor’s degree in History and minors in Classics and Economics from Hamilton College. He writes about complex financial and legal topics, explaining them in a reader-friendly way.

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