If you have been injured in an accident, the at-fault party may owe you some monetary damages. You have a right to safely travel on the road without getting into a wreck, and the person who hit you, or at least their insurance company, may be required to "make you whole" again by covering your medical expenses, your loss of property, your lost wages and most importantly, your pain and suffering. What you are entitled to receive as a result of the accident comes down to one word: liability. To learn more about what this means to your claim, read on.
What does liability mean?
The legal definition of liability is culpability, which simply means "blameworthy without evil intent." The driver of the car that hit you is culpable; they did not hit you on purpose (that would be assault or even homicide) so there was no intent of evil. It was an accident. There are three major issues that must be factored in when assigning liability.
1. Duty of care. Everyone owes the other drivers on the road with them a duty of care. It's each driver's responsibility, or duty, to drive carefully. This means paying attention and following the rules of the road while driving a vehicle.
2. Breach of duty of care. A breach is a gap, and a gap in the care of duty can cause accidents. When the accident occurs, someone has breached their duty of care.
3. Proximate cause. The cause of the accident, such as a person running a red light or leaving their lane of traffic and causing an accident. This is the actual action involved in breaching the duty of care.
You may be of the opinion that the other driver is liable for your accident, but there is more going into the equation than what may appear at first glance. To be liable, there must be direct link between the proximate cause and the accident. Accident situations are seldom black and white; they are many shades of gray. For example, if a car rear-ended you, you may naturally assume that the other driver clearly caused the accident by not paying attention or driving too fast to stop in time. But what if the other driver's brakes failed, or the road has suddenly iced up and became a skating rink instead of road? There may be no direct link between the proximate cause and the accident, which could reduce or entirely eliminate the other driver's liability.
As you can see, car accident liability can be confusing and complicated. Every auto accident is different, so trust your attorney to ensure that the other driver meets the requirements for liability. Contact a personal injury lawyer to advocate for your rights when it comes to getting the compensation you deserve.
After I got into an accident a few years ago, I realized that I needed to hire an attorney, and fast. I didn't know how to proceed through the course of the investigation by my insurance company, so I searched the area for a personal injury lawyer who could help. I was really impressed with how intelligent my lawyer was and how hard he worked to make things right with my case. After a few months, my lawsuit was settled, and I really felt like I couldn't have done it without him. This blog is all about understanding personal injury law and the benefits of working with a lawyer.