Understanding Car Accident Claims

Liable To Be At Fault

by Lois Gibson

If you've been in a wreck, you have likely heard the word "liability" thrown about a lot. This word sounds a bit confusing, but understanding its meaning is vital if you find yourself involved in a claim or suit with the at-fault driver. It's important to realize that the level of liability on both sides has a direct impact on the amount of your compensation. Read on to learn more about liability when it comes to car wrecks.

The legal meaning of liability

This personal injury related term can be interpreted to mean "culpability". It's important to understand that liability is not the same thing as guilt nor is it associated with intent. Instead, it can mean to be blameworthy, but without evil intent. Since we are speaking about accidents here, the definition of liability should place a clear line between it and something that was done on purpose. Trying to kill someone with your vehicle in a far cry from accidentally rear-ending someone who stopped in front of you. Most accidents are caused by distraction, sleepiness, carelessness or simple human error. It might be helpful to substitute the word "blame" for liability.

Who is liable?

To determine who should get the blame when an accident occurs, it may be helpful to look at these factors:

Duty of Care – Everyone driving on the road owes other drivers a duty of care. You should do your best to drive with care and attention and obey the rules.

Breach of Duty of Care – When a driver fails to property use care when driving, that is a breach. Some common breaches of care include inattention, carelessness, ignorance of rules of the road and more.

Proximate Cause – The breach of care that leads to a accident is the cause of the accident. Many accidents are not simple, and there very well could be more than one proximate cause at play.

Proving the other party liable

Some accidents are clearly one party's fault, and some may not be. If you end up having to share the blame with the other driver for the accident, it will inevitability reduce your compensation. The amount of liability the other driver shared or is assigned is a major factor in the determination of a settlement offer. For example, if you are rear-ended at a stop light you might think that you are not liable in any way. But what if your brake lights were not working properly that day? The other party is still at fault, but perhaps not 100% at fault.

Be sure to speak to a personal injury attorney, regardless of who you think might be at fault in an accident.