How is fault or liability determined in a car accident?
At first, this may seem like a silly question. The truth of the matter is that this question is actually far more complex than you may initially think. Of course, there are some examples where fault or liability is unquestionable (i.e., drunk driving). However, determining liability for your everyday fender-bender is far trickier than many assume.
Let’s say that the collision in question occurred, in part, because one of the drivers failed to brake on time, or cut off another vehicle, or did some vague and general that almost any driver on the road to relate to. Well, these acts, in a vacuum, certainly make that driver liable for the wreck.
However, what if the other driver — the “victim” if you will — had his or her lights off and so the driver “at fault” couldn’t tell the vehicle was approaching? What if a turn signal was off? What if the driver was going a bit over the speed limit? What if the driver made an illegal lane change prior to the wreck?
Any of these situations can shape or change the way liability is determined in the car accident. Additionally, it is not a guarantee that just one driver will be found at fault for the wreck. In fact, in many cases, multiple drivers are at fault or all the drivers involved “share” liability for the wreck.
Source: FindLaw, “Fault and Liability for Motor Vehicle Accidents,” Accessed July 8, 2015