What Determines Fault in a Car Accident?

Determining fault in a car, motorcycle, truck or bicycle accident comes down to one question: who was being careless?

In vehicle accidents, it is often relatively easy to determine fault. There are official, written rules of the road that determine how people are supposed to drive. These same laws provide guidelines to determine liability in instances where the rules of the road are not followed and accidents occur.

These easy-to-determine cases are those where a clear violation of a traffic rule has occurred. For instance, if one driver runs a stop sign and broadsides another car, the first driver is at fault because they failed to obey one of the basic rules of driving.

Some situations do not involve such a clear violation. In these instances, like when two drivers merge into the same lane, hitting one another, fault is determined using the “law of negligence.”

The driver who was negligent, or acted carelessly, will be found liable for the accident. In order to prove negligence, the following three criteria must be met:

  1. The driver was legally required to be careful in the given situation. This one’s a no-brainer. Anytime a person is driving a vehicle, they are legally obligated to be careful.
  2. The driver was not careful at the moment the accident occurred.
  3. The driver’s careless actions caused injury or damage to another person.

The best way to meet these criteria and prove negligence in your vehicular accident case is with the help of an experienced injury attorney.

Contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Garland & Mason, L.L.C. for a free review of your case.



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