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Who Can Be Held Liable for a Car Accident?

Car accidents can result from negligent driving behavior, intentionally reckless behavior, poor vehicle maintenance, malfunctioning car parts, etc. The party responsible for the car accident can be held liable for car accident damages, such as medical bills, lost earning potential, and loss of enjoyment of life. For example, if a car accident occurred because of a malfunctioning car brake, the manufacturer of that defective brake can be held liable in a car accident claim.

A car accident lawyer can help you assess your current and future damages and determine who caused the car accident. They can help you determine whether there were multiple liable parties, collect evidence to prove their negligence and put you in the best position to recover full compensation for your damages.

How is Liability Determined in a Car Accident Claim?

Liability in a car accident comes down to four main concepts: negligence, recklessness, intentionality, or strict liability. Some parties can behave in a way that breaches a party’s duty of care, which is the acceptable standard of behavior to keep others safe. Parties can be held liable for a car accident claim whether they intended to harm or not, as negligent driving behavior such as speeding can still result in harm despite the driver not intending to hurt another driver.

Strict liability applies in cases where negligence or intention to harm does not need to apply. As long as you can prove that the at-fault party committed an action that caused the accident, they can be held liable for damages in a car accident claim if strict liability applies.

Negligent Drivers Can Be Held Liable for Car Accidents

The most common liable party in a car accident claim is a negligent driver. This is a driver who either accidentally or intentionally drives in a harmful way. This involves breaking driving rules and laws that can expose others on the road to harm. The negligent driver can be held liable for breaking the rules of the road and causing a catastrophic car accident as a result.

The following are some of the negligent driving behaviors that can cause a car accident:

Car Part Manufacturers Car Accident Liability

A driver may lose control of their vehicle due to a malfunctioning car part. A car part manufacturer can be held liable for car accident damages if they allow a defective car part to be bought and used in a vehicle. It is their responsibility to create safe products that can work effectively in cars, and failing to do so is negligent behavior that can leave them liable in car accident claims.

Car accident claims involving defective car parts fall under product liability law, which is when a company in the distribution chain is held liable for negligence that caused harm. Product liability claims occur because of three reasons: manufacturing defects, design defects, or failure to warn consumers about the dangers of a product. Speak to a car accident attorney today to determine if a car part manufacturer’s negligence caused your car accident.

When Can an Employer Be Held Liable for a Car Accident?

There are rare circumstances where an employer can be held liable for a car accident claim. In jobs that require employees to drive cars, the employer can be held liable for a car accident claim if the accident occurred while the employee completed a work task. It falls under vicarious liability, where the employer is responsible for the conduct of the employee while on the job.

A car accident does not have to occur in a work vehicle for an employer to be held liable. As long as the employee was on the clock and completing a work task, an employer can be held vicariously liable. Employers are not liable for a car accident caused by an employee on their commute to and from work.

Comparative Fault in a Car Accident Case

There are situations where both drivers involved in a car accident can share liability in a car accident claim. For example, let’s say one driver ran a stop sign and another driver was speeding. The collision that occurred would be because of the negligent actions of both parties. 

A situation like this would fall under comparative fault, which means any settlement or award would be deducted by the percentage of fault the plaintiff shares. In that situation, a court may decide the plaintiff is 35% responsible for the car accident. If they receive a court award, they will lose 35% of it to account for their share of liability in the car accident.

Damages in a Car Accident Claim

The at-fault party can be held liable for damages in a car accident claim because their negligence caused the losses the victim suffers. A car accident lawyer can help a victim calculate their car accident claim value by determining their current and future damages. Losses can include economic damages that have a specific monetary value or non-economic damages that are intangible and reflect how the car accident altered the victim’s quality of life.

The following are some of the car accident damages a victim can pursue:

How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help You Prove the At-Fault Party’s Liability?

Hiring a car accident lawyer can help with the process of determining the at-fault party. They will know what to look for, can assess your damages, and work to prove the at-fault party’s liability. They can also help you file a car accident claim and handle the process of pursuing compensation to pay the full cost of your car accident damages. 

The following are some of the ways a car accident lawyer can help you with the claims process:

  • Calculate the value of your car accident damages
  • Determine the liable party who caused the car accident
  • Draft and send out the demand letter to the liable party and their insurance company
  • Collect evidence to prove your car accident case
  • Speak to witnesses and car accident experts
  • Negotiate a settlement with an insurance company trying to deny, delay, or devalue your car accident claim
  • Represent you in court in a car accident lawsuit

Contact The Russo Firm for Help With Your Car Accident Claim

The car accident lawyers at The Russo Firm can help you assess the damage and determine who the liable party is. Using their decades of experience, they can handle your claim in a way that maximizes your potential for recovering compensation. Our car accident attorneys do not believe in a “one size fits all” approach to legal counsel, instead opting to constantly communicate and shape the legal counsel plan around the details of your case.

We offer free consultations to show potential clients how we can help them recover fair compensation for the full cost of their damages. Contact us at (561) 270-0913 or leave a message on our online contact page.

Article written or reviewed by:

Attorney Anthony Russo

Attorney Anthony Russo

Managing Partner and Lawyer at The Russo Firm

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