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What is a negligent driver?

This blog has frequently mentioned that negligent drivers can be held responsible for the damages they cause during an accident. However, people may wonder -- who exactly is a negligent driver? Under Tennessee law, a person -- including a driver -- is negligent when five elements are met.

The first element is duty. A driver can only be negligent if the person owed a duty to another person. This means that they had to the duty to refrain from acting a certain way or the duty to do something. In the case of drivers, drivers have a duty to follow safety rules and act as a reasonable driver would under the circumstances. The second element is breach. In order for a driver to be negligent, the driver had to have breached -- or failed to uphold -- the driver's duty.

The third and fourth elements have to do with cause. In order to be considered negligent, the driver's actions had to have actually caused injury to another party. The driver's actions must also be the proximate cause of the injuries. This means the person must have known the person's actions were likely to cause injury.

Finally, the driver's actions must have caused actual damages to another party. In other words, the injured party must have quantifiable damages.

Whether these elements are met in any particular case will depend on the specific circumstances in each cases and, therefore, this blog post cannot provide legal advice. If you are wondering if a negligent driver was responsible for causing a car accident, you should see an attorney.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Tennessee Negligence Laws," accessed Oct. 26, 2014

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