What is Auto Negligence?

By Steven M. Gursten, attorney and President of Michigan Auto Law


Negligence after a crash is a legal theory used by people who have been hurt in automobile crashes to recover compensation for their injuries from the negligent driver who caused the auto accident.

Failure by a motor vehicle driver to use the care that a reasonable driver would use

Negligence in a crash is the failure by a motor vehicle driver to use the level of care that a reasonably careful driver would use under similar circumstances. The standard of care is determined based upon how other people drive in the same or similar circumstances. For example, if a person is driving on an icy road, then he or she must adjust his or her speed and driving behavior in whatever way is necessary for the conditions. 


Negligence after a crash can include:

  • Violating traffic laws, such as speeding or running a stop sign or red light.
  • Rear-ending another car.
  • Texting while driving.
  • Driving while intoxicated (from alcohol or drugs)

Rear-ending another car

One of the most common causes of auto accidents is rear-ending another car. The law in some states provides that a driver who rear-ends another vehicle is presumed to be guilty of negligence.

You should be aware that rear end car accidents can cause serious car accident injuries to both drivers involved in the crash, as well as any passengers who are riding with either driver. It can also result in death if someone is sitting in their vehicle idling at a stop sign or red light when they get hit from behind by someone who fails to brake before hitting them.

Proving negligence after a crash

To prove negligence after a crash, an injured person must prove that the other driver failed to use the necessary care while driving or violating state, city or local traffic laws or rear-ended another driver.  

Damages and compensation 

Negligence after a crash is the legal theory that an automobile accident victim may use to recover compensation and damages from the negligent driver who injured the victim.

Because there are so many factors involved in these types of cases and because each case is different, it is impossible to say exactly what the damages and compensation will be in a case. Frequently, claims for pain and suffering compensation, loss of consortium, excess medical bills and excess lost wages will be pursued in an auto negligence lawsuit


The concept of negligence is complex but understanding the basics can help you to better understand your legal options after an accident. If you’ve been injured in an automobile accident, you should contact an experienced attorney who will fight to advance your best interests and help you recover damages and compensation for your injuries.

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