What is reasonable care in a car crash?
You and your family are in an automobile collision. You suffer serious personal injury. Your wife has broken bones, your child might have a spinal cord injury, you might not be able to get back to work. You go to see your lawyer because you believe the other driver was at fault and caused the harm to your family. You tell your lawyer that the other car was waiting to turn left into a parking lot, the car began to turn and you could do nothing to prevent the collision. . Your lawyer tells you have a good case and because he/she is a good lawyer that lawyer takes immediate steps to get statements from all the witnesses, gets a copy of the police report, puts the other driver’s insurance company on notice of your claim. Your job, at that point is to let the lawyer worry about the case, and focus on recuperating from your injuries. However one thing is bothering you. Your lawyer said that the other driver failed to use “reasonable care” in the operation of their car and caused the collision. Now what the heck does that mean?
Lawyers sometimes speak in a foreign language. Reasonable care is generally a simple concept. In terms of driving, it generally means to follow the rules of the road. The rules of the road are those rules you learned in drivers education. In the above circumstance it means that the other driver has the obligation to yield the right of way to approaching cars, letting them pass before turning. Said another way, if the approaching car is so close as to present an immediate danger if the turning car turns, then the turning car must wait to turn. So why didn’t the lawyer just say that? Well, lawyers are taught that the words “reasonable care “ are important words, and when we talk among ourselves, it is easy to throw that term around because we are used to it, and know what it means. I think lawyers need to do a better job using ordinary language to describe what we mean instead of using terms that are difficult for the general public to understand. The courts also believe this too and are trying to create jury instructions that use plain language, so jurors can do a better job at getting to the truth.
Ask your lawyer, whenever they use terms you do not understand, to tell you what they mean. That will allow you to fully understand what is happening and it will cause your lawyer to slow down and think about what they are saying and how to say it more clearly.