What is Negligence Per Se in an Oregon Car Crash?

Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Jul 31, 2020 in Auto Accident

emergency car accident sceneIn Oregon, as in other states, negligence per se can most easily be explained as the inherent failure to follow a law that was designed to protect others. In the case of a car crash, negligence per se could apply where a driver caused a collision with another vehicle because he or she was breaking a traffic law, such as:

  • Driving through a red light
  • Urban drag racing and ignoring the speed limit
  • Aggressive driving behavior, such as tailgating
  • Driving while fatigued
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Texting or other distracted behavior while driving

If another driver’s violation of a traffic law caused you to be involved in an accident and suffer injuries, you may be able to apply negligence per se to your car crash claim against that driver. Taking advantage of this legal approach may make it easier to establish liability, however, it is not always so straightforward.

How Negligence Per Se May Benefit You in an Oregon Car Crash

The benefit of being able to apply negligence per se to your car crash claim is that it may be possible to prove the other driver’s liability without having to first establish the other elements of negligence, including: duty of care, breach of a duty of care, how the breach led to the car crash, and that the collision directly led to the injuries and other damages that you suffered.

When negligence per se is applicable, the inherent assumption is that the duty of care was not upheld and that there was negligence on the part of the defendant. However, as the injured victim, you or your attorney will still need to provide supporting evidence to prove this argument.

A reputable lawyer, such as our Portland auto accident attorneys at Rizk Law, will be able to determine whether you may be able to apply negligence per se in your situation. In a case of negligence per se, certain legal guidelines must apply in this type of claim, such as:

  • There is proof that the at-fault party violated a local, state or federal law
  • The plaintiff, or injured party, was intended to be protected under that violated law
  • The defendant’s violation of a public law directly led to the accident that caused the plaintiff’s injuries
  • If the defendant had not broken the municipal, state or federal traffic law, the plaintiff would not have been injured or suffered other damages

It is important to mention that, in some cases, even if a traffic law was broken and the violation led to injuries, the at-fault party may be able to provide a legal defense for his or her actions.

Is There a Legal Defense Against Negligence Per Se?

There are some valid legal defenses that the at-fault driver may be able to use for his or her violation of state traffic laws, such as:

  • Being medically incapacitated: Sometimes, due to an unforeseen medical event, a driver may suffer a seizure, heart attack or other medical emergency that causes him or her to be unable to safely operate his or her vehicle.
  • Unexpected road emergencies: A sudden road emergency could happen that contributes to an accident, such as if another vehicle has a tire blowout or debris falls off a passing vehicle and lands in the path of another driver. That driver may not have enough time to react to avoid a collision.
  • The driver did his or her due diligence: There may be cases where a motorist can prove that he or she took reasonable steps to prevent a collision but was still unable to avoid the accident.
  • The traffic violation was deemed to be for the greater good: In rare cases, a motorist may be able to prove that it would have caused more harm if he or she had complied with the law. 

Learn How an Attorney May Benefit Your Car Crash Claim

If you were injured in a car crash caused by another and you believe negligence per se may apply, we are prepared to help.

At Rizk Law, you can contact our representatives 24/7 to set up your completely FREE consultation. You can call us directly at: 503.245.5677, send us a text or complete our free case evaluation form to get a quick call back from a member of our legal team.

There is no obligation to hire our services, but if we represent you, rest assured that you pay us nothing up front. In fact, we do not get paid our fees unless we recover money for you first.