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Who is Responsible for Damages After an Accident?

driver covering his face in frustration | driver liability for car accidentThere are many factors considered important for determining who is responsible for damages that occur to property, and/or injuries that are sustained by an individual, in an accident. For example, imagine a motor vehicle driver is seriously injured when another driver cuts in front of him/her, after turning onto the street. 

The second driver may be found to be responsible if he/she was driving their vehicle at a high rate of speed, or if they made an illegal lane change before the accident. The driver responsible for paying for the damages caused by the accident in this case, is influenced by whether or not the second driver violated a statute, not necessarily by the common law definition of “fault”. Learn more about driver liability for car accident below.

Statutory Violations 

Every state has passed multiple laws governing how drivers must drive their vehicles. When these statues are violated and the result is a car accident, that can change how fault is determined. 

Some state legislatures, often persuaded by the automobile insurance industry, have made motor vehicle statutes a basis for car accident liability, rather than common law fault. This gives more of a chance to the insurers to challenge fault and liability, when the other person involved in an accident has violated a traffic law. 

A motor vehicle driver who does not have liability insurance may not be able to get expenses for their damages and injuries, even if the fault is of another driver. Because of this, liability insurance is needed by every motor vehicle driver in all states.

Common Law

In many situations though, fault can be determined by common law, and there are four levels of fault:

  • The first one is the negligence or carelessness of a driver, which is the common cause of road and motor vehicle accidents
  • Second is recklessness which is paying little attention or ignoring the safety of other drivers present on the roadways
  • Third is intentional misconduct, actively seeking to cause harm
  • The last one is strict liability or responsibility regardless of the fault. In some cases, strict liability can be imposed even when the driver is not at fault. This happens when the accident involves defective products or extra hazardous activities.

Motor vehicle drivers who have caused an accident have committed a “tort” or wrongful act against the other driver. According to the law, people responsible for the accidents are called “tortfeasors”.

If a driver was engaged in intentional or reckless misconduct, like driving under the influence, there is no question of fault. But, when it is a case of general negligence, establishing fault becomes more difficult. In cases where more than one driver is responsible, state law dictates how responsibility is apportioned.

Contact our Northglenn Accident Attorneys

Hull & Zimmerman P.C.If you or someone you love has been injured in any type of accident in Northglenn, Thornton, or anywhere in Colorado, and you believe someone else’s negligence is to blame, it is important to contact our experienced personal injury attorneys immediately. At Hull & Zimmerman, P.C., our committed personal injury lawyers are dedicated to the belief that everyone deserves justice. Contact us at (303) 423-1770 or (866) 385-3505.

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At Hull & Zimmerman, P.C., we are honored to help accident victims in their time of need, and take our responsibility as personal injury lawyers incredibly seriously. We know how important it is for victims to secure the full and fair compensation they need following a serious accident, and that is why we take a hands-on, personalized approach to every case we handle.

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