Car accidents occur frequently, leaving victims physically, emotionally, and financially suffering. Fortunately, you can recover compensation for your losses from an accident. In the aftermath of a crash, it’s vital to understand who is at fault and liable for your damages. This will allow you to hold them accountable for your losses.
The concepts of fault and liability can be confusing to many people. So, we visited DolmanLaw.com to better understand fault and liability in car accidents. Keep reading to learn more about the findings.
Potential Liable Parties In A Car Accident
Liability refers to the legal responsibility of paying for damages. Some of the liable parties in a car accident include:
The Other Driver
The other driver might be at fault if their negligence caused the accident. There are many forms of driver negligence. One is aggressive driving. It entails excessive speeding, improper lane changing, tailgating, and running red lights. Others include distracted driving and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The Agency in Charge of Road Maintenance
Poor road conditions can lead to car accidents. Examples of such conditions include:
- Poor road signage
- Uneven road surfaces
- Loose gravel or debris
The agency in charge of road maintenance may have failed to maintain the road properly. In doing so, they may have caused the dangerous conditions that led to the accident. Hence, you can hold the agency liable for damages.
A vehicle defect can cause a car accident. In such a case, you can hold the vehicle manufacturer liable. Examples of flaws that could lead to accidents include brake, tire, and engine defects.
Proving Fault In A Car Accident
To prove fault in a car accident, you must show that the defendant was negligent. Negligence is a failure to exercise reasonable care, resulting in harm to another person. A lawyer can help you prove the different elements of negligence.
- A duty of care (the legal obligation to operate a vehicle safely)
- Breach of duty (failing to honor the duty of care)
- Causation (the driver’s breach of duty caused the accident to occur)
- Damages (the accident resulted in actual damages)
Evidence Used To Prove Fault In A Car Accident
Evidence can help show who caused the car accident. There are different forms of evidence, including:
Eyewitnesses can provide valuable information about what happened and who is at fault. Their testimony can also corroborate other evidence of the accident.
Police officers who respond to the scene of a crash will often create an accident report. It provides details about the crash, including:
- A description of the vehicles involved
- The location of the accident
- Any citations that the police issued
The police report can serve as critical evidence in establishing fault.
An expert witness may be called upon to offer an opinion on fault in an accident. An example of an expert witness is an accident reconstructionist. They can use physical evidence and other information to recreate the events of the crash. In doing so, they can help determine who is at fault.
When receiving treatment after an accident, a doctor will document your injuries. They will do so in your medical records. These records can help prove the extent of your injuries and damages. Thus, it can help you recover fair compensation.
Shared Fault In A Car Accident
Sometimes, both parties in an accident may be partially responsible for the crash. So, how do you determine compensation in such cases? Some states use the comparative negligence system, while others use contributory negligence.
Under contributory negligence, you can’t recover damages if you’re partially at fault. The opposite is true for comparative negligence. You can still get compensation even if you contributed to the accident. However, your compensation award will be reduced as per your percentage of fault.
Fault and liability are vital to assigning financial responsibility for car accident losses. Understanding these concepts can help you secure the compensation you deserve.