Vehicular Accidents: Understanding Fault and Legal Responsibility

Car accidents are one of the most common accidents that happen, and regardless of the cause, be it distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding, or anything else, these accidents can lead to fatal injuries and life-threatening scenarios. In fact, even the most straightforward cases of fender-benders and rear-end collisions causing road rage are capable of causing permanent and long-term injuries.

However, despite being infamous, most people are unaware of the laws and regulations that govern the legal responsibilities involved in car accidents, so when it comes to identifying who’s at fault, the majority of people are ill-equipped. So, to address this lack of information, today we’ll be understanding how fault and legal liabilities work in vehicle accident cases.

Carelessness And Negligence

Although the general public may think that legal responsibility, or liability, in a vehicle accident is a complicated question to answer, it often really boils down to common sense. As the word “liability” suggests, these accidents happen because someone was careless, or in legal terms, negligent. Case and point, the individual’s negligence lead to the accident, meaning he/she must pay for at least a portion of the damages suffered.

Duty of Care

Most accidents and injuries begin at understanding one’s duty of care. When you’re in the driver’s seat, you immediately assume a duty of care for your passengers, pedestrians, and other vehicles. And, as a driver, it is your duty to follow your state’s vehicle code/rules of the road and ensure that you’re not putting anyone at risk of danger. However, when an individual fails to acknowledge and breaches this duty, it increases the normal risk we encounter and leads to car accidents.

  • Breach of Duty: When someone goes well-above the posted speed limit or breaks a traffic law, this is an example of breach of duty, ultimately causing accidents and injuries and further establishing the person’s legal responsibility.
  • Damages: Another essential thing to note is damages, which refers to the physical and emotional injuries sustained by an individual caused by a car accident. You may only claim compensation for the injuries, pain, and suffering, and damages that are a direct result of an accident.

two men looking at a car hood

Where To Find Fault

Finding fault is a tricky matter, but it’s not impossible. However, it must be known that both parties are subject to being partially at fault for a car accident and how much fault each party is responsible for will determine the amount met with your settlement. With personal injury cases, the obvious answers are the injuries sustained like suffering from whiplash and the relevant medical records.

  • Police Reports: If the police were the first respondent to the scene and not an ambulance, it is almost guaranteed that there is a detailed written accident report. These reports often specify the code violations and other important citations like negligent driving, which can help rule the case in your favor and get you the full value out of your settlement.
  • Physical Evidence: Photos, video recordings, and the damaged vehicle are all important forms of physical evidence that can retell the events that unfolded during a car accident. Eye witness reports also have a strong claim in getting the full value of your settlement.

Medical Coverage and Settling Your Claim

The primary reasons why we seek a personal injury claim from car accidents is the expensive medical bills and auto damages that can stack up as a result. And, while we’d like to think that getting compensation is easy, there are certain intricacies and challenges we must understand. In most cases, though, if everything is settled legally in court and both parties have existing liability insurance, you can expect around 60%-80% of your settlement to be yours after legal fees.

  • Importance of Insurance: If the individual at fault has liability insurance and auto insurance, it can be fairly easy to have your settlement met because these insurance companies will be the ones paying them. However, if they don’t have any, it can be very hard to expect any financial compensation if the party at fault doesn’t have out-of-pocket money they can offer.
  • Seeking Professional Help: In more serious cases where multiple people are affected or sustaining serious injuries that lead to trauma, disability, and the like, we recommend seeking the professional help of an experienced personal injury attorney. While it is possible to proceed with a personal injury claim without legal assistance, bigger cases are hard to process and manage, making it crucial to have a lawyer representing you.

Overall, there’s only so much an overview of car accidents, and their legal responsibilities can cover, so as much as possible, abide by the rules of the road and put safety as a top priority. Feel free to share this information with your friends and family, so that we all can be informed about the legal liabilities concerning vehicle accidents.

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