0746wZ Understanding Motor Accident Liability: Who Is Responsible?

Understanding Motor Accident Liability: Who Is Responsible?

Understanding Motor Accident Liability: Who Is Responsible?

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By citiesabc resources

In the wake of an accident, it becomes a priority to establish who is responsible for it. To determine motor accident liability, there are many factors to consider as well as steps to be taken once the liable party is determined. Read below for an overview of how to determine motor accident liability and the next steps for compensation and a return to regular life.

Understanding Motor Accident Liability: Who Is Responsible?

Key Factors

Negligence

If negligence was involved in a car accident, which it usually is, then that must be determined by taking witness statements of those who were in each vehicle and also using evidence like dashcam footage and markings on the road. Negligence will be determined after all of the evidence is collected or if the guilty party admits to the accident being their fault. 

Negligence is defined as a person’s lack of foresight or the driver’s inability to exercise reasonable care while driving by speeding, running a red light, or partaking in inhibitive substances while driving. 

Road Conditions

Certain road conditions like rockslides, potholes, or animal crossings are sometimes a major factor in the cause of a motor accident. If that is the case, there may not be a clear guilty party because the accident was caused by outside forces. Regardless, a lawyer could argue that a driver should always be practicing defensive driving and could have avoided a collision if they were going slower and being more observant. In that case, these adverse road conditions may not be a good enough excuse to get a driver out of being determined liable for the accident.

Traffic Law Violations

Most car accidents occur because a driver is not adhering to local traffic laws. This might be due to blatantly ignoring them or their lack of awareness of the laws where they were driving. Regardless of how the traffic law violations occurred, if they can be proven, then a driver will end up in trouble in court. An expert local motor vehicle accident attorney will be well-versed in the traffic laws in your area and can do research to determine if the other party was violating these laws in the moments leading up to the accident. If you were involved in an accident and you are not the liable party, having a good attorney on your side to ensure you were not at fault will help you get the compensation you need.

Intentional Recklessness

If a driver is driving erratically due to road rage or driving under the influence and it can be proven without a doubt that that was the cause of the accident, then they will have to take full responsibility. To make sure that this is the case, the driver will be made to do a breathalyzer or blood test to see if there are drugs or alcohol in their system. If they were sober, then there may need to be further investigation to find out if the accident occurred because of driver misconduct due to road rage at other drivers. 

Rear-End Collisions

Being rear-ended is a common type of accident that is so common that most people have likely been involved in one at some point in their lives. In most instances, it is the driver who hits from the back who is determined to be at fault, especially because the car that gets hit is usually at a standstill. However, there are unique instances where the driver in front unexpectedly stops or starts to reverse, which could blur the line about who is at fault.

Left-Turn Accidents

If the accident you were involved in occurred while one driver was crossing an intersection and the other driver was making a left turn, the fault will likely be put on the person who was turning. This is because even if the light was green for the left turn unless it is a green arrow, it is still a yielding turn. The driver has to wait until the road is completely clear before they make their turn. Many drivers think they can press hard on the gas and make the turn before an oncoming car crosses their path, but every once in a while this risky move does not turn out how they want. In cases like this, even if it is the driver who was driving straight that hits the turning car, it is still the turning car’s fault.

Understanding Motor Accident Liability: Who Is Responsible?

Exceptions and Negligence Laws

No-Fault Insurance Laws

In some states, no matter who is at fault, the insurance companies of all parties involved in the accident will cover each individual’s medical and mechanical costs. In these cases, the person who is at fault doesn’t really matter unless there are serious, long-term injuries for which the victims want justice. This means that although costs are covered by insurance companies, the at-fault driver may still be sued by the affected party for emotional distress and other damages. 

Comparative Negligence

In other states, there are comparative negligence laws in place, meaning that the fault of the accident is split up unevenly by the degree of culpability. For example, if one driver was sixty percent responsible for the accident and the other driver was forty percent responsible, then they would each pay their specific percentage of damages. This method establishes that both drivers had some degree of responsibility for the accident and paid their fair share.  

Contributory Negligence

This type of negligence law is the strictest as it states that if a driver is assumed to be even the slightest bit responsible for the crash, they will not qualify for receiving any compensation for the crash. This way of deciding liability is not as common as comparative negligence.

Steps to Take After A Motor Accident

Ensure the Safety of All Involved

In the moments after a collision, check all passengers to see that everyone is conscious and unharmed. If people are injured, try not to move them until the ambulance comes. If the crash isn’t severe enough that the cars can still drive, move them to the shoulder to avoid any other collisions. Then you can call the authorities to come and get a full report of the accident. 

Exchange Information

Before leaving the scene of the accident, no matter how small it is, make sure to exchange information with all drivers involved. That will help down the line when it comes to dealing with insurance companies and legal matters.

Document the Scene

To make sure that you have evidence to back up your testimony, take as many photos as possible of the crash site. These photos will help you document how the accident occurred and determine liability.

Understanding Motor Accident Liability: Who Is Responsible?

When determining who is responsible for a car accident, it is important to tell the police exactly what you experienced while it is fresh in your mind. Then the proper authorities will determine who is liable and who will have to pay for the damages.

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