How to determine who is at fault in a bicycle, motorcycle, car, truck, or other road accident.
Responsibility or liability of fault in road accidents in a personal Injury Lawsuit is a matter of deciding who was careless. For automobile accidents, there is an established official convention clearly stating the rules and providing guidelines by which liability may be ascertained.
Before obtaining a drivers license, there are traffic regulations of the road consequent upon which all and sundry must learn to pass the driver’s license test.
In the United States of America, complete traffic rules are contained in each state’s vehicle code, and they apply to all road users including vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians.
More often than not, violations of one of these traffic rules have been discovered to be the cause of accidents on the road giving rise to Personal Injury Lawsuit. An example is the refusal of a driver to obey a stop sign can cause a car to crash into another vehicle
In some situations, there may not be a clear violation of traffic rules; an example is a collision that occurs when drivers both merge into a single lane of traffic. The law of negligence may govern such scenarios. A road user who is “negligent” (act in a thoughtless or careless manner) will be found partially at fault for causing the crash.
There are three major elements needed to establish or prove negligence which is to wit:
- The driver is legally required to be reasonably careful in the particular situation. It is conventional that drivers must use caution at all times.
- The driver, pedestrian or cyclist was not reasonably careful; and
- The driver’s conduct caused actual injury or damage to someone.
CAN I BEAR LIABILITY IF MY CAR WAS HIT AT THE REAR-END IN A PERSONAL INJURY LAWSUIT?
Where a driver hits you from behind, it will be correct to presume virtually always that it is the fault of that other driver, irrespective of the reason you stopped.
A fundamental rule of the road requires every driver should be able to stop safely where a vehicle stops ahead of you and where the driver is unable to stop, it will be presumed that he is not driving as carefully as the person in front of him. This presumption, however, is rebuttable.
In establishing the above, dependable evidence of rear-end, accident claims is shown where the vehicle damage indicates how the crash occurred. Especially where the other car’s front end and your car’s rear end are both damaged, it proves that you were smacked from the rear.
In a few situations, your car and the car behind you will be hit simultaneously when a third car runs into the car behind you and thrusts it into the rear of your vehicle. In that circumstance, it is the driver of the third car who is in blunder, and against whose liability insurance you may file a civil suit.
IS IT MANDATORY THAT A CAR MAKING A LEFT TURNING ALWAYS BEARS THE LIABILITY IN AN ACCIDENT?
A car making a left turn most times bears liability to the car coming straight in the other direction. There may be some exceptions to a near-automatic liability on the following grounds:
- Where the vehicle going straight was on high speed, this may be difficult to prove
- the car going straight ignores and went through a red light, or
- the left-turn vehicle began its turn when it was safe, but something unforeseen occurs which caused it to reduce his speed or stop its turn.
It is noteworthy that irrespective of the contributing factors, it is trite law that a car making the left turn on the road must wait until it can safely complete the turn before advancing to the front of oncoming traffic. In addition to the preceding, the location of the damage on the cars seldom makes it difficult for the other driver to contend that the crash occurred in some way other than in the course of a left turn. Where you had an accident in which you ran into someone who was making a left turn in front of you, the other driver is virtually always liable.
WHERE ONE OF THE CRASH VICTIMS WAS ALSO AT FAULT, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Where a victim of an accident receives partial blame for an automobile accident, compensation for such victim’s personal injury or property damage may be partial or excluded absolutely; this will be depending on where the crash occurred. In states or jurisdictions that apply the relative or comparative negligence system, where both parties to an accident are negligent, the fault will be allocated between both the parties. This means that such a victim will not be able to make full claims for injuries or damages as the case may be, but may get fractional or partial compensation.
However, in states or jurisdictions that apply the causative or contributory negligence system, where both the victims and/or drivers are negligent, the victims are barred from any claim for personal injury or recovery of any form of damages. The rationale is simply because the consequences in a causative or contributory negligence system can be harsh; this practice is applicable to a few states.
WHERE A MOTORCYCLIST FAILS TO PUT ON A HELMET, CAN HE/SHE VALIDLY MAKE CLAIMS OR RECOVER FOR INJURIES CAUSED BY ANOTHER DRIVER?
Whether or not a motorcycle rider without a helmet can validly make claims and recover for head and/or neck injuries will be primarily based on the extant laws applicable in the state where the accident occurred. Some states do not require the use of helmet. Every state in the United States of America save for three have some motorcycle helmet law. The provisions of the said law in some states require all motorcycle riders to put on helmets. Other states laws require helmets only for persons or riders under a certain age limit.
You must note that it will be challenging for a helmetless motorcycle rider who sustains personal injuries in a vehicle accident where helmet law is fully applicable to make claims or recover for head and neck injuries. Nevertheless, the rider may be able to make claims or recover for other injuries. Furthermore, it will be easier to make claims for head and neck injuries and recover damages for personal injury in states that don’t require the use of a helmet. To establish the former, the insurance company in the circumstance is likely to produce an onslaught of evidence demonstrating that helmet use significantly reduced the incident of head injuries, and that by not wearing a helmet, the motorcyclist was negligent.
WHO SHOULD A VICTIM SUE IN A TRUCK ACCIDENT?
Truck use, ownership, and vicarious liabilities make it complicated for trucking accident victims to understand or ascertain who bears what liability or responsibility for injuries. It is not always easy to outline the persons or companies that could be liable in an accident involving a truck. A list of players who could be on the legal web for a trucking accident may include:
- the truck driver
- the truck or trailer owner
- the individual or entity that leased the truck or trailer from the owner, where the truck is leased
- the truck, tires, or other equipment manufacturer which may have occasioned to the accident or led to its severity,
- the freight loader, where it involves injuries caused by a truck’s cargo
It is always not an easy task to determine whose insurance will compensate the victim between the trucking, hauling, and leasing companies. It is advisable you consult a lawyer with requisite experience in cases of this nature and knows what to expect from the parties involved.
In almost every state’s official traffic or vehicle code, Bicycles are considered “vehicles.” Based on the foregoing, cyclists must adhere to the same rules of the road that apply to motorcycles, cars, and trucks.
Faults and liabilities are usually determined by the general principles of negligence in an accident between a car and a bicycle. Bicyclists may not ordinarily be exonerated merely on the basis that their “vehicle” is smaller and powered by human legs. For instance, where a cyclist runs a red light or runs against traffic, and it’s hit by a car that entered the intersection or crossroad legally, the cyclist will most likely be presumed negligent and will not be able to make claims or recover for his injuries.
If I AM INVOLVED IN A TRAFFIC ACCIDENT, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Document the whole situation. You may take notes in the following order:
- Take careful notes shortly after your accident. Be informed that this is the most important thing you can do. This will facilitate the entire personal injury lawsuit and claim process easily for you and also enhance your probability of receiving the full compensation to which you are entitled.
- Take notes to remind you of all the particulars and details of events, time, dates, and participants; this is easier and accurate for reference purposes instead of relying on your memory.
- Write down relevant details as fast as possible. Start with what where you are and what you were doing and your destination as well as the persons who were with, the time, and the weather.
- Remember to state every element of what you saw, heard, and felt, including anything you remember hearing anyone say.
- Make daily notes of the impact of your injuries, such as pains, discomfort, anxiety, loss of sleep, or any other problems associated with the effect of the accident which may not be as severe or visible as other injury, which additional compensation should be demanded.