Who’s Liable In a Car Accident?
By Chris Dixon
It’s important to prove who is the liable or at-fault driver in a car accident. This is proven by evidence that shows that the other driver acted negligently while driving. A car accident lawyer is an important tool that is essential when determining who is liable in a car accident you’re involved in.
What Are Negligent Driving Behaviors?
Negligence is defined as reckless driving behavior that, 1) violates traffic laws /or, 2. is dangerous to the driver or other drivers on the road. Some of the more common types of negligent driving behavior includes:
- Speeding while driving
- Driving while intoxicated
- Not following road signs or running red lights
- Passing a stopped school bus
- Texting while driving (while illegal in some states, it is only severely frowned upon in other states as being a cause of distracted driving).
How Can I Prove the Other Driver Acted Negligently?
To determine who is liable in a car accident, negligence has to be proven. Collecting evidence from the accident that shows that the other driver is negligent is the first step that needs to be taken. Gathering statements from witnesses to the accident can be a powerful tool when proving negligence. Photos of the scene of the accident, as well as any potential video footage (from stoplight cameras, witnesses on their cell phone) is strong evidence too. Filing a police report must be done if you wish to prove that the other driver is liable in a car accident. A police report includes details of the accident, what responding officers believe the causation of the accident was, and who they believe is liable for the accident.
What are the Rules of Fault?
It is essential to hire a car accident lawyer to help you prove that the other driver is liable for the accident you were involved in. The legal system can be tricky and the fact that each state follows a different rule of fault makes it even trickier to understand. A local lawyer will know what your state’s traffic laws are and what rule of fault they follow. The most common rules of fault that are used are ‘Pure Comparative Negligence’ and ‘Modified Comparative Negligence.’ Pure Comparative Negligence allows for all drivers to receive compensation for damages from an accident so long as one driver isn’t found to be 100% liable for the accident. The amount that each driver will receive is based on the percentage that the court finds each driver to be at-fault for in the accident. Modified Comparative Negligence states that if you are less than 50% responsible for an accident and the other driver is say, 55% at-fault for the accident, the driver who is 45% liable in the accident will receive 55% in damages from the accident while the other driver will receive nothing because they’re more than 50% liable.
What Type of Accidents is the Other Driver Almost Always Liable For?
There isn’t always a cut-and-dry answer for who is liable in a car accident, but in rear-end accidents and left-turn collisions there is almost always a clear answer of ‘fault’. It is relatively clear who caused these types of accidents because they’re generally unavoidable. If a driver stopped suddenly causing the driver behind them to hit them, or a driver turned left when it wasn’t their turn and struck a car who had the right-away, the liable driver would be the person who hit the car from behind and the car who made an improper left-turn. In the case of the rear-end accident, the rear driver is at-fault because they were not alert /or they didn’t leave enough space between them and the car in front of them to allow room to stop, even if the driver stopped suddenly. With the left-turn collision, the person turning left is nearly always at-fault because oncoming traffic has the right-away. Even if the person turning left thought that it was clear for them to go and wound up hitting someone, it would most likely be found that they were liable because the other driver had the right-away.
How Can a Lawyer Prove Who’s Liable in a Car Accident?
Liability can be proven with the help of a car accident lawyer with sufficient evidence from the accident. Your lawyer knows your state’s laws and the legal system, and will analyze your case and give you a likely outcome for your claim. More often than not, car accident lawyers will settle claims outside of court. Your lawyer will negotiate with the negligent driver’s insurance company by restating the facts of your case and why the other driver is at-fault. They will fight for your case and make sure that you receive the most for your car accident claim against the negligent driver. To speak to a car accident lawyer who will care about your case, contact the Dixon Injury Firm to get help with your car accident claim today.