Car accidents are common in the United States. These accidents can have serious ramifications for victims who can suffer from serious injuries and even lose their wage-earning capacity. But the United States legal system provides provisions to the citizens to file a lawsuit against negligent parties and demand compensation for the damages they incur. If you were in an accident and have suffered from serious injuries, you can file a lawsuit against the negligent driver and demand compensation. Before we dive into the details, you should ensure that the following things are taken care of if you were recently involved in a car accident
. Car accident and injury laws vary from state to state. Each state has different provisions and statutes regarding the legal practice area. Therefore, the best way to go about the legal process is under the supervision of an expert car accident attorney.
What Is Car Accident Law?
Car accident law refers to the legal rules that help courts determine who the at-fault driver was and the extent and value of the damages that occurred due to the collision. Car accident laws fall under the purview of state law. This area of law also depends on the doctrine of negligence like other injury cases.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
Negligence is key to proving a party liable for the accident you were in and the damages you suffered. Some of the most common causes of car accidents can be negligence and can become the basis of proving the liability. These causes are not limited to but include:
- Distracted Driving
- Drunk Driving
- Reckless Driving
- Unsafe Lane Change
- Traffic Rules Violations
- Improper Turns
- Breaching the Maximum or Minimum Speed Limit
- Driving while Disregarding the Weather Conditions or the Traffic Conditions
Process for Proving Liability in Court
If you want to prove that a driver was responsible for the accident and is liable for paying compensation, you are required to prove the following:
The Driver Was Legally Obligated to Be Responsible
Every driver on the road is legally obliged to follow traffic rules and ensure the safety of fellow drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and other people. This is known as the duty of care.
The Driver Failed to Uphold Their Duty
You need to prove that the driver breached the duty of care and that their negligence was the cause of the accident. This is done by comparing the driver’s response to a prudent and reasonable person’s response. If a reasonable driver would have been more careful and able to avoid the accident, the defendant can be considered negligent and considered to be at fault. If you have proof that the driver violated a traffic rule, it can be used as solid proof to substantiate your claim.
The Breach of Duty Caused Injuries
Only the driver being negligent won’t make him liable for the injuries or the accident. You need to prove that the driver’s negligence was the direct or the most proximate cause of the accident. This means that you should prove that the accident would not have happened if the defendant driver had been more responsible and careful.
Shared Fault in Car Accidents
It is possible that you may also have been partly at fault and contributed to causing the accident. In such a circumstance, either the compensation you can recover from the defendant is reduced, or you are denied any compensation if proven to be at fault. The impact of sharing the fault with the defendant driver varies from state to state. Based on shared fault statutes, states can be divided into the following categories:
Pure Comparative Fault States: In such states, the compensation reduced is directly proportional to the extent or part you played in causing the accident. For instance, if you were 70% responsible for an accident and the damages caused are US$10,000, then you are entitled to receive a benefit of US$3000.
Modified Comparative Fault States: These states follow the same statutes as the pure comparative fault states. The policy only varies if you were more than 50% responsible for causing the accident. If you are more than 50% responsible for the accident, you are not entitled to any compensation.
Contributory Negligence States: In these states, you are denied any compensation if you share any amount of blame for causing the accident.
No-Fault States: Some states require you to ask for assistance from your insurance company. In these states, both the victim and the defendant must obtain compensation from their respective insurance companies. Filing a car accident lawsuit in these states is only allowed if you or someone else involved in the accident has incurred serious injuries.
Why Hire a Car Accident Attorney?
Now that you have understood the basic legal aspects involved in a car accident lawsuit, you may be wondering whether a car accident attorney is worth your time and money. You can learn more about when to hire a car accident attorney here
. Hiring a car accident attorney will benefit you in the following ways-
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- The statute of limitations for filing a case varies from state to state. A car accident attorney will ensure you do not miss out on deadlines and file a case quickly and easily.
- Most insurance companies try to get rid of the victim by paying them a small sum of money. This is very small and can hardly even cover the medical expenses for the victim's treatment. Car accident lawyers are ruthless negotiators who will work in your best interests and get you the compensation you deserve.
- Police reports and other evidence collected by authorities are crucial to building a strong claim. A car accident attorney can issue orders to collect these reports and evidence and use them to build a strong case against the defendant.
- Most car accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means you are not required to pay any fees upfront, and the attorneys take a percentage of the compensation you receive. You can know more about the different fee models that car accident lawyers use here.
- With a car accident attorney by your side, you can rest assured that you are protected against bullying and pressure in the courtroom.