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Fault & Liability for an Car Accident

N From the moment a driver hears the screech of tires to the second the impact occurs, a car accident can be a very traumatic experience. It can take time to piece together all of the events that led up to an accident, and they may not be as straightforward as they appear at first. In some cases, depending upon your state, you may ultimately find that blame will be assessed in percentages for each driver involved in the accident. 

Rear End Accidents

The driver who hits another car is typically (but not always) the one who is held responsible for an accident. When it comes to being rear-ended, this tends to apply in the vast majority of cases. Even if the first car stopped short, it is the responsibility of the following driver to leave enough space between their car and the one in front to stop safely.

However, there are even some instances in which the driver in front could be at fault. For instance, if the first car's brake lights are out, that car's driver actually can be faulted for not properly maintaining the vehicle. Sometimes, with rear-ending accidents involving three cars, the last car in line isn't always the car that causes the entire accident. Occasionally, the second car will hit the first car before the third car hits the second car. This can be difficult even for the drivers themselves to discern. Sometimes fault can be difficult to determine.

Note that in some states the police will not come to the scene of the accident to fill out a report. It will be up to the people involved in the accident to describe the events to their insurance companies.

Who is at Fault for a Car Accident?

Assume that a driver purchases a new sports car and, wanting to see how fast it can go, takes it out on the highway and races a friend, testing its limits. Many people do not realize that driving at a rate of speed that is a stated amount over the posted limit can be tagged as reckless driving. For example, in Virginia, anyone caught driving over 85 mph can be cited for reckless driving. Additionally, even if people are not technically over the cap for reckless driving, they can be charged with racing another driver.

In both the racing and drunk driving examples, a person could be charged with intentional misconduct. This charge asserts that the driver was aware of the potential consequences and dangers yet still chose to proceed. Since it can be difficult to determine what is and what isn't intentional misconduct, drivers are encouraged to reach out to an experienced car accident attorney who can guide them.

Strict Liability: No Burden of Proof for Negligence

Although the concept of strict liability in motor vehicle accidents is rare, it will sometimes arise. One example is when a commercial truck is carrying cargo in excess of federal or state weight limits and consequently rolls over while making a turn, injuring an occupant of another vehicle or a pedestrian. In many cases, the truck driver or trucking company would be found responsible for the resulting harm without the plaintiff having to prove negligence.

Motor Vehicle Statutory Violations

In the case of a statutory violation, the most important question to ask is whether or not the incident would have occurred without the violation. If no accident would have taken place without the violation, a statutory violation has taken place and can be applied to the situation at hand. These violations can vary from state to state; what is illegal in one state may not be illegal in others. Car accident lawyers should be familiar with all of the rules and regulations in the state in which the incident occurred, allowing them to proceed accordingly.

Speak to an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney Today

This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified auto accident lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local auto accident attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.

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