A person can be found at fault in a car accident for simply failing to do anything, if that failure represents negligence. They don't have to take a specific action to cause a crash; failing to avoid that wreck is just as bad.
First, take a look at the four elements typically used in a negligence case:
- There was a legal duty owed from one party to the other. In car accidents, this means one person has a legal duty to drive in a manner that keeps the other from being injured.
- This duty was breached.
- That breach caused the other person to get hurt.
- The harm suffered and the related costs were connected to that injury.
For instance, it's often said that a rear-end accident is usually the fault of the rear vehicle. People have a duty to maintain a safe stopping distance so that even if the car ahead stops suddenly, they don't hit it.
Unfortunately, many drivers do not do this. For example, one driver may be speeding and tailgating another, hoping to make a yellow light. The front driver may decide he or she won't make it and hit the brakes. At that point, the second driver fails to slow down and stop in time, causing the crash.
That rear driver may feel that he or she was the real victim because the front car suddenly slowed down. That was not what the second driver anticipated. However, though he or she did not intentionally cause the crash, failing to avoid it is still negligence.
This may also be true in cases were distracted drivers do not see hazardous conditions and fail to take any action to slow down or avoid a wreck.
Have you been hit by a negligent driver? You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries and medical bills.
Source: FindLaw, "Proving Fault: What is Negligence?," accessed Jan. 04, 2018