Accident Liability

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automobile accidentThe party who is responsible for damages or injuries in a car accident is determined to be at fault.

This determination is made by long-standing legislation held up by automobile liability insurance carriers.

Legislative lobbying has resulted in a set of alternative strategies to determine fault that often go against common law.

Common law recovery for damages would state that the person at fault must pay for the damages, but sometimes that is not always the case in real life accidents. Many states have reconsidered the liability for fault regarding automobile accident liability.

The four basic levels of fault are:
1. Negligence
2. Recklessness or wanton conduct
3. Intentional Misconduct
4. Strict Liability

In most cases, negligence refers to carelessness or inadvertent conduct which results in damage. Examples of negligence would be running a red light, speeding, failing to yield, and not turning on lights when driving at night.

A driver must be reasonably careful to avoid injuring other motorists, passengers, or pedestrians while operating a motor vehicle. If a driver does not use care and injures someone as a result, the driver is liable for causing the accident.

When filing a lawsuit for negligence, the person filing the lawsuit (the plaintiff) must prove that the person being sued (the defendant) was negligent. A negligence claim will be used to determine if the defendant was indeed negligent and therefore responsible for paying for damages and injuries.

In some cases, there is also comparative negligence and contributory negligence.

Comparative negligence occurs in a situation where the injured person was also careless. Contributory negligence is when the injured persons’ carelessness contributes to the accident. The percentage of liability for each party determines the percentage of resulting damage each party must pay. This determination is made during claims negotiations.

When a driver is thought to be engaged in reckless misconduct, such as drunk driving, there is rarely any question of fault. A driver with little to no regard for the safety of others is deemed to be reckless and therefore held responsible for any accidents or injury that may occur.

Strict liability is imposed when, regardless of any fault, accidents occur because of defective products or the transportation of hazardous products, such as chemicals. Strict liability implies that the user, or in some cases the manufacturer, of the product, in this case a car of truck, is liable for any damages or injuries that occur regardless of negligence or intent.

If the accident was the result of a defective product, such as brake liners, and the product is determined to be defective and responsible for the damage inflicted on the victim, the manufacturer is held responsible.

Issues involving accident liability can be complicated and hard to navigate. Your best source for dealing with accident liability if you need to go to court if to hire a lawyer who specializes in personal injury and car accidents.