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Car Accident Cases: What You Need To Know About Liability

If you are involved in an auto accident and have suffered serious injuries, as well as incurred piles of bills due to the accident, you might be wondering if hiring a lawyer to help you reclaim damages is a good choice for you. Accident and injury lawyers can help you get money needed to pay for costs relevant to your injury. There are a few things that are necessary for a good injury case, one of which is determining liability, as well as determining if negligence played a part in the accident. 

What is Liability? 

Liability, with regard to a car accident insurance claim, is the matter of deciding who was responsible for the car accident, as well as the damage that occurred from the accident. This is an essential fact to establish, as accident liability can, and mostly like will, dramatically shape both the present and future insurance costs for those involved. 

Evidence Gathered For Liability

The process of establishing proper liability starts right at the scene of the collision. Not only should insurance information be exchanged, but it is often best if those involved contact the police. Many states legally require this to happen even when there's no physical injury and only property damage; other states require that a report be filed with their Department of Motor Vehicles. 

While still at the scene, statements and contact info may be gathered from witnesses. All of the information from these sources can then be used by insurance companies and courts to correctly determine the crucial matter of who is liable. From the information collected at the accident scene, insurance companies reviewing the claims then determine liability by deciding which person or group acted negligently, meaning they decide which group failed to do something that resulted in the collision. 

Determining Negligence 

There are really only three directions that a negligence determination can be aimed: the drivers, the road, or the car. Driver negligence is the most common cause of accidents because, as licensed operators of an automobile, drivers are required to drive "with reasonable care" and obey many traffic laws/vehicle regulations intended to promote safe driving. Failure to do so can often result in accidents. 

If either driver is found to have engaged in negligent behavior such as driving while intoxicated, driving while otherwise distracted, or driving a car not up to state inspection standards, that driver can potentially be found liable by insurance companies and the courts for the accident. 

Conditions related to the road or car that may have influenced the accident can sometimes cause parties, besides the drivers, to be found guilty of negligence. Pedestrians or cyclists found to be behaving in an unsafe manner, such as traveling outside of designated bike lanes, moving from the shoulder of the road, or neglecting to use sidewalks, can be found negligent. 

If a government agency fails in their responsibility to maintain the roads, perhaps by allowing debris to rest in roads or avoiding fixing potholes and cracks, and accidents result, they too may be found negligent.

In some rarer instances, a major failure on the part of a car manufacturer resulting from construction that is unknown to the driver may lead the manufacturer to be found negligent. However, this is a much different situation than a driver knowingly operating a flawed vehicle they chose not to have repaired.

A driver who is found to be negligent during claim determination and thus liable for an accident can experience one or several ill effects. Increased insurance premiums, civil suits, garnished wages, or even jail time are just a few possibilities, depending on the nature of the damage. Legal consultation is highly advisable at every stage of the settlement process. Click here for more information about consulting with an experienced lawyer.