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Tampa Workers' Compensation Attorney / Blog / Personal Injury / The Three Types of Negligence in Car Wreck Claims

The Three Types of Negligence in Car Wreck Claims


Driver error causes over 98 percent of the car crashes in Florida. This driver error usually falls into one of the three categories discussed below.

Sometimes, driver error is a wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time accident. For example, Sam might answer a call on his cell phone at the same moment Jill steps out into the street. However, if Sam had used his cell phone for several blocks, Sam probably breached his duty of care. More on that below.

If the driver was negligent, a Tampa personal injury lawyer can obtain substantial compensation in court. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.


The duty of care, which is roughly based on the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you), goes into effect before tortfeasors (negligent drivers) get behind the wheel. Sometimes, the chain of events which ends in a car crash begins with a behavioral issues, such as:

  • Substance Impairment: Almost half of the drivers who cause fatal crashes test positive for alcohol and/or drugs. Usually, these substances cloud judgment ability and impair motor skills. If drivers are not in top shape in these areas, they breach their duty of care.
  • Fatigue: Much like alcohol and most drugs, fatigue affects judgment ability and motor skills. In fact, driving after eighteen consecutive awake hours is like driving with a .05 BAC level, which is above the legal limit for many Florida drivers.
  • Distraction: Drivers choose to drive while intoxicated or fatigued. They also choose to drive while distracted. We mentioned device distraction above. Other examples of distracted driving include arguing with passengers or eating while behind the wheel.

Sometimes, behavioral negligence is quasi-voluntary. Driving with a serious medical condition is a good example. No one chooses to have heart disease, epilepsy, or another such condition. But these individuals choose to ignore the risk or a sudden loss of consciousness and hit the road.


The duty of care continues when motorists pull out of the driveway. They must follow the written (and unwritten) rules of the road. They must also drive defensively. Aggressive driving breaches this portion of the duty of care.

Speeding is probably the most dangerous, and most common, form of aggressive driving. Excessive velocity is a double whammy. It increases the risk of a wreck (by reducing reaction time) and the force in a collision (according to Newton’s Second Law of Motion).

Other kinds of aggressive driving include ignoring a traffic control drive, turning unsafely, and tailgating another vehicle.


Generally, the duty of reasonable care is fixed. It applies equally to drivers with five decades of driving experience and five minutes of experience. Sometimes, however, the duty of care is flexible. Adverse environmental conditions are a good example.

Assume Jim is driving an empty box truck, or another lightweight vehicle with a high center of gravity, on a very windy day. He has a responsibility to slow down and use extra caution, so a sudden wind gust doesn’t knock his vehicle into another lane.

Incidentally, if Jim was driving a box truck, a Tampa personal injury lawyer can hold his employer financially responsible for damages, under the respondeat superior rule.

 Reach Out to a Diligent Hillsborough County Attorney

Injury victims are entitled to important financial benefits. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Tampa, contact Kobal Law. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.



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