car accident faq from an attorney

Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accidents

After you have been through a car accident, you might have many questions that will need answers to. Suffering a car accident could be traumatizing, especially if you were injured during the incident.

Below is a list of some questions that personal injury victims ask. If a question you may have is not answered below, it is crucial to speak with a lawyer that focuses on car accidents who can answer them for you.

#1: What governs liability in a bicycle, motorcycle, truck, vehicle, or other motorist-related accident?

The main element that will determine who is liable for an accident will be negligence. Who was the driver or person that was negligent that caused the accident?

Drivers have official traffic rules that they must adhere to, which may be different from state to state. In some cases, both parties can be found negligent, known as comparative negligence. Some accidents are more obvious as to who is liable for the accident.

For example, if you are struck by a vehicle that ran a stop sign. In that case, the obvious guilty person is the driver who ran the stop sign and hit your car. But in other cases, liability might not be so obvious.

For example, when an accident happens after two cars merging into a single lane of traffic. In that case, establishing that the driver was negligent would be a needed factor in proving your case.

#2 Which elements are involved in proving negligence during a car accident?

Answer: In order for you to prove negligence, three elements need to be fulfilled:

  1. There was a legal requirement that the driver/s should have been careful during a specific circumstance (This is already proven because drivers are required to use caution while driving).
  2. The person being accused of negligence (motorcyclist, pedestrian, cyclist, driver, or another person) did not exercise caution; and
  3. You were injured or damaged as a result of the other person’s conduct while driving

 

#3: Would liability fall on me if I was rear-ended?

Answer: If you were to get hit in the back by another car, the liability of that accident will almost always fall on that driver’s shoulders, despite the reason that you may have stopped.

This comes into effect because vehicles are required to maintain a certain distance from the car in front of them, allowing them to stop in a timely manner in case they needed to suddenly stop.

#4: Is accountability always placed on the car that is making a left turn?

Answer: A car that is coming straight that is struck by a car making a left turn will almost always hold the left-turning car liable for their damages. There are some exceptions to this rule:

  • Speeding was found as a contributing factor of the oncoming car (Hard to establish)
  • The oncoming car ran a red light
  • Something unexpected happens while the car was making a left-turn when it was safe

Traffic laws specify that a vehicle that is going to make a left-turn needs to wait until it is safe for them to make the turn without running into danger.

#5: What happens when both drivers are at fault?

Answer: The results of an accident where both parties are at fault in the accident depends on which state it took place in. If you are in a state where they go by the comparative negligence system, then the fault of the accident would be distributed between both drivers.

This suggests that if you are the victim of the accident, you would only receive partial compensation for your damages because you also contributed to the accident.  Now, if you are in a state where they use contributory negligence system, then even if the other driver was more at fault than you were, you would not receive compensation at all.

 

#6: Can a motorcycle driver recover for damages even if they were found not wearing a helmet?

Answer: This all depends whether the state that they reside in requires that they use a helmet. Laws regarding motorcycle helmets are present in all but three states. The requirements and specifications for every state are different.

If the state that you are in requires that you wear a helmet, recovering for neck or head injuries that you sustained might be nearly impossible to achieve, but you would recover for other damages like an injury to the leg. In the event that the state you had the accident it does not require that you wear a helmet, then you could recover from head and neck injuries.

#7: Who can I sue if I get into an accident with a truck?

Answer: Unlike an accident with a regular vehicle, being involved in a trucking accident is quite different. Liability could fall on numerous individuals, unlike a vehicle crash where liability is most often just the other driver. Liability could fall on the following individuals and entities:

  • Person driving the truck
  • Person who owns the truck or trailer attached to the truck
  • Company or person who leased the trailer or truck from the titleholder
  • Truck’s or equipment manufacturer (defective equipment liability)
  • Loader or shipper (cargo of the truck causing the accident)

All liable parties often argue amongst each other as to who should be responsible for paying for your damages which is why it is important to consult with someone who knows the laws pertaining to trucking accidents like a skilled personal injury attorney.

The aftermath of any personal injury car accident is always questionable and if you want to recover your damages, asking yourself all of these questions is extremely important.

Speak with a skilled personal injury lawyer if you are unsure of what your next steps should be after becoming a victim of a car accident. I and my law firm are available to answer all of your questions and they will provide you with the best legal advice there is.