If you've been injured due to the careless actions of another driver, you may hear the word liability a lot. This term means almost the same thing as blame or fault in legal terms. As far as a car accident goes, this issue of liability can destroy a case before it even begins. Read on and learn more.
What Is Liability?
Accidents can happen that involve only one vehicle. However, many accidents involve another vehicle driven by a driver who did something wrong. It was probably not intentional – that's why they are called accidents. However, in a car accident case, one driver only may be mostly to blame for the accident. Accidents can be caused by a variety of reasons. Drivers get distracted, are sleepy, are bad drivers that don't follow the rules of the road, and so on. In many cases, though, the driver that apparently caused the accident has no idea how it happened. In certain cases, both drivers involved in the accident could be to blame and share liability.
How Is Liability Determined?
In many cases, the person responsible for causing a wreck is almost immediately identified at the scene of the accident. Law enforcement officers are trained to observe certain red flags like the location of damage to the vehicles, skid marks on the road, where the vehicles can to a stop, and more. If there are eyewitnesses to the accident, they will be interviewed as will any passengers in the car. The drivers, unless they are too badly injured, will also be interviewed. From those initial observations, the officer can often draw some conclusions as the cause. That information will be included in the accident report along with contact details and insurance policy numbers.
If the officers' conclusions are uncertain as to the cause, more investigation may be carried out by the insurer for both drivers. After all, the insurer has a large stake in who ends up having to pay the damages for both drivers. The insurance adjuster may speak with both parties about what led up to the accident, what they remember, and what they think happened. It's important for those involved in an accident to know that they are under no obligation to speak to the insurance adjuster for the other driver. It's probably best to speak only to your own insurer and your own personal injury lawyer.
Finally, some accidents may be so complex that sorting out liability is left up to an accident reconstruction expert. They will study photographs of the scene, the vehicles, the injuries, and more. They may also use computer programs to recreate the accident.
To find out more about accident liability, speak to your personal injury lawyer.