Getting injured in a car accident can allow you to file a claim seeking compensation for your injuries and other significant losses. But before getting compensated, you must determine who was at fault for the car crash and prove their liability. Otherwise, you don’t have a cause of action against the alleged responsible party.
How are you going to establish liability in a car accident? Read on to learn more.
Understand The Legal Theories Behind Car Accident Liability
Most legal rules about car accidents and other personal injury cases are governed by specific legal theories, which vary from state to state. For purposes of determining the liability in a car accident case, the following are considered:
- Negligence Law: Negligence happens when the defendant fails to exercise reasonable care in doing some actions, resulting in harm or damage. To substantiate your claim that the opposing party was negligent, you need to establish the following elements:
- Duty of care: The defendant is legally obligated to drive a vehicle safely by performing some actions, like following the traffic rules and regulations and using turn signals.
- Breach of the duty of care: The defendant violated that legal duty by committing negligent acts, like running a red light and failing to yield when driving.
- Causation: There should be direct causation between the breach of the duty of care and your injuries.
- Damages: Injuries can result in economic and non-economic damages or losses. The former include medical bills and lost income, and earning capacity. While the latter includes pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment in life.
Establishing these elements may hold the defendant liable for the car accident on the ground of negligence. However, proving negligence can be challenging and complicated. Hence, hiring a car accident injury lawyer can be an excellent idea. They’ll review your case and demonstrate the elements of negligence to protect your right to fair compensation.
- Strict Liability Law: This law refers to liability without regard to the fault or intent of the defendant. This means the plaintiff must only demonstrate that the injuries were sustained because of the car accident.
Under strict liability law, the defendant has to pay for the expenses of the accident, even if they weren’t at fault for what happened. So, if you live in a state where strict liability is the governing rule in car accident cases, you can receive compensation if the other driver is liable.
These are two legal theories used when determining who is at fault in a car accident. It’s essential to remember that applying these legal concepts depends on your state. The strict liability law is usually used if you’re from a no-fault state. Otherwise, the law on negligence will govern your car accident case.
Gather Evidence To Prove Liability
To establish liability in a car collision, certain pieces of evidence are necessary to support your claim and hold the defendant responsible for your injuries. These include:
- Police report: It’s crucial evidence because it provides comprehensive documentation of the incident and the assessment of the person at fault for the crash. When the police officers arrive at the scene, they investigate, interview the individuals involved and the witnesses, and note all observations. Hence, you can use the police report to confirm the defendant’s liability.
- Medical reports: If you want to demonstrate the relation between your injuries and the car accident, the medical reports can help. Proving the extent of your injuries can boost your chances of getting a successful claim.
- Photographs of the accident scene: You should take pictures of the scene from different angles to know how the car collision happened. These photos include debris from the crash, skid marks, and other visual evidence of the accident to demonstrate the other party’s liability. For example, the other party will claim they couldn’t see your car properly from their angle. In that case, you can take photos from the other driver’s perspective to show that the visibility was better, undermining their argument. Secure pictures of the damage to show the extent of your losses.
- Witness testimonies: Procure the statements of those who witnessed what happened before and after the car accident. They can provide information on whether the other party was speeding or violating traffic rules or regulations.
- Driver admissions: Some drivers might come out and make incriminating statements about the car collision. So, listen to the other driver’s words when they exit the vehicle. Aside from their statements, you should also check their behavior after the accident. For example, if they slur their words, there’s a high possibility they’re intoxicated. This can help you prove their liability in the accident.
These can be used to establish the other party’s liability in car accident cases. Gather the evidence as soon as possible to improve your odds of having a winning case.
Seek Legal Help
Dealing with a car accident can be frustrating, especially if it starts to change your life. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may have to leave work for healing and recovery. But this could mean losing your ability to earn a living. You may also face the emotional and mental consequences of being an injured victim.
That said, you need all the assistance you can get to hold the other party accountable for what happened and recover compensation. This is where hiring a legal professional proves to be beneficial. They can help determine whether you have a valid claim, and if you do, they can look for the best course of action to proceed with your car accident case.
They can also assist you in gathering the evidence you need to establish the other party’s liability in the car collision. They can activate their professional connection to help support your case. For example, they can ask a medical expert to testify and demonstrate the causal relationship between the injuries and the car accident. Hence, you can attain a more positive outcome for your case.
Proving liability in a car accident can be complicated, so you must know what to do. If you’ve sustained injuries in a car collision, remember the information above to help determine who was at fault. The better you establish the other party’s liability, the higher your chances of obtaining the compensation and the justice you deserve.