Personal Injury Claims And The Effect Of Liability
If you are the victim of a careless driver, you may have come in contact with the term "liability". This word sounds a bit intimidating, but it really is a relatively simple concept. Understanding how liability affects your personal injury claim, and the amount of your compensation, is vital. Read on to learn more about what liability means.
What is liability? In legal terms, liability translates to "blameworthy, but without the intent of evil". The very word "accident" can be construed to mean that the driver who crashed into you likely did not do it on purpose. Nevertheless, that driver is at fault for the crash. The existence of liability in an accident can be determined using these 3 main factors:
Duty of Care: All drivers owe others sharing the road a duty of care. You must take care to be cautious and protect passengers, pedestrians and other drivers from harm by observing laws and paying attention while driving.
Breach of Duty of Care: Since the word "breach" means gap or opening, a breach of duty of care means that someone took an action that may have caused harm to come to another.
Proximate Cause: The careless action took that caused the accident is known as the proximate cause. For example, if a driver was texting and rear ended you, texting by the driver was the proximate cause of the accident.
Proving Liability: Not So Simple
What may seem obvious to you may not be as black and white as it seems. Every accident presents a unique situation, and further analysis can often find that not just one party was at fault. To prove fault, there must be a direct link between the driver's actions and the resulting crash.
For instance, one of the most simple types of accident is the rear end collision, and in most cases the driver that hit the car in front is fully at fault. But even with this simple type of collision, factors can exist that might mitigate some of the liability of the drivers. Factors such as:
- The driver behind had a brake failure and was unable to avoid the collision.
- The driver in front suddenly put the car in reverse and backed into the car.
- The driver behind blew a tire and could not avoid hitting the car in front.
- The weather was bad and the car in front did not have any lights on the rear of the vehicle.
None of the above circumstances relieve either driver from liability, but it could reduce the liability by a percentage. A reduction in liability means one thing: a lower settlement amount.
If you have been involved in an accident, speak to an auto accident attorney right away.