Last month, Californians were mesmerized when the latest SpaceX rocket was launched over southern California. Unfortunately, the launch gained the attention of some of the drivers on Los Angeles freeways. As a result, there was at least one accident at the time of the rocket launch. The victims who were injured in the crash could be entitled to compensation from the driver who became distracted by the rocket launch.
A Driver’s Standard of Care
Drivers who embark out on Los Angeles roads have a responsibility to drive safely. This means having a valid driver’s license, obeying the rules of the road, and operating the vehicle in a manner that does not put others at an increased risk of harm. When a driver does not uphold this duty they may be considered negligent. Negligence can occur when a driver commits an act or fails to act. Specifically, a driver will be considered negligent when he or she:
- “does something that a reasonably careful person would not do in the same situation,” or
- “fails to do something that a reasonably careful person would do in the same situation.”
When the SpaceX rocket was launched in December, at least one driver diverted his attention from the road to watch the scene unfold. Moments later, the car was involved in a three-vehicle accident on a Los Angeles freeway. While no one was seriously injured, some victims did suffer minor injuries. Others suffered property damage as a result of the crash. Was the driver’s conduct negligent?
In order to determine if the driver was negligent, we must determine if that driver breached his duty of care. The standard of care requires that drivers do not put others at an increased risk of harm. In order to determine if the conduct was negligent, we must determine what a reasonable person would have done in the same situation. Would a reasonable person have also taken their eyes off of the road to watch the launch, or would they have avoided the temptation to watch the spectacular event unfold? The answer to this question will determine if the driver breached his duty of care.
If a reasonable person would have been startled and taken his eyes off of the road to check for danger, the driver may not be considered negligent. If, however, a reasonable person would have kept his eyes on the road no matter what distraction occurred, the driver would likely be considered negligent. If the driver is considered to be negligent, he may be liable for damages suffered by the accident victims.
Negligence Must Also Cause Harm
It is not enough to prove that a driver was negligent. A victim must also be able to prove that the driver’s negligence also caused that victim’s injuries. Specifically, the driver’s negligence must have been a substantial factor in causing the victim’s harm. This does not mean that the driver’s negligence must be the only cause of the victim’s harm. There can be multiple factors that contribute to a victim’s harm. In California, more than one person can be held financially responsible for a victim’s harms. In fact, the victim’s own conduct can even contribute to their harm. However, the driver’s negligence must still be a substantial factor in causing that harm. If the victim would have been harmed anyway, regardless of the driver’s negligence, the driver’s conduct will not be considered a substantial factor.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
The victims who were injured in the Los Angeles freeway crash may be entitled to compensation. In order to determine liability and the best course of action, the victims should contact an experienced personal injury attorney. As attorneys, we thoroughly review and investigate accidents in order to maximize the compensation our clients recover. We search for all potentially liable parties and gather facts to support our client’s case. This process allows us to make sure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries.
If you have been injured in a Los Angeles car accident contact the Los Angeles Accident Law Center for help. Insurance companies may be quick to offer you a settlement, but the amount they give you will not be enough to cover the full extent of your damages. Hiring an attorney will increase the chances of maximizing the compensation you receive. Call our Los Angles personal injury attorneys today to schedule a free consultation and learn more.