Car Accident Law: Know your Rights after an accidentLast updated on: September 17, 2022
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Several things can jeopardize your legal rights after an automobile accident. Protecting these rights is essential, especially if another driver was at fault for your collision. Otherwise, you risk losing out on the compensation. This article discusses car accident law and the various steps you can take to safeguard your rights.
Automobile collisions are known for being injurious and sometimes deadly. After an accident, we can assess the facts of the case to determine your available options for making a financial recovery. For a free consultation with a car accident attorney call (800) 863-5312 today.
What Is Car Accident Law?
The term “car accident law” refers to state laws establishing liability for the personal injury and property damage caused by a car accident. This area of law makes up a large subset of personal injury cases. Litigation in this area is mostly governed by state law, and negligence is the legal standard that most often applies.
Most states have laws in place prohibiting behaviors that increase the likelihood of a car accident. For example, in most states, it’s illegal to:
- Text and drive
- Drive under the influence
- Drive above the speed limit
Drivers who engage in these types of behaviors put everyone on the road at risk of danger. Depending on your ability to prove that the driver involved in your car accident was engaged in these types of behaviors, a court will be more or less likely to find them to have been acting negligently.
Common Car Accident Law That You Should Know
If you were in a car accident, it’s crucial to follow certain steps to get the compensation you deserve and safeguard your legal rights. Insurance companies may decline to offer compensation or set a cap on the total amount that can be awarded. It’s critical that you understand how insurance claims are processed following a car accident and how a lawyer can assist you.
There are other types of laws that might influence your car accident claim. For example, if your accident was caused by a defective airbag, you will need to know product liability law. An experienced attorney would look for certain facts when analyzing the various types of law that apply to your case.
Consider the following types of law commonly involved in car accident cases:
Recalls and Defects Law
Sometimes car accidents involve defective vehicles. Who is responsible for paying for damages when it’s the manufacturer who’s at fault? Plaintiffs, supported by personal injury attorneys, are required to establish a connection between the defect and the incident.
A component of the car which is notorious for recalls is airbags. In fact, there have been some famous cases regarding recalls for popular car brands that installed airbags from a defective manufacturer. One recent case involved Takata Airbags, which were recalled because long-term exposure to heat caused these airbags to explode.
Although federal law may apply if your accident took place on a national highway, in most cases, state traffic laws apply. Of course, whether state or federal law is used depends on what rules were being broken at the time of the accident. In any event, these laws are meant to prevent people from putting other people in harm’s way, but still, people ignore the rules of the road.
Insurance Claim Law
If you were injured in an automobile accident you should submit a claim to the appropriate insurance provider. This procedure may be difficult to understand, and, in some cases, the other driver may not be carrying insurance. Nonetheless, the law allows you to file a car accident lawsuit and obtain a judgment against an uninsured driver.
Rental Car Liability Law
The process for determining who is at fault in accidents involving rental cars is largely the same as in other car accidents. If the driver is at fault, they are liable for the price of your vehicle’s repairs as well as any additional damages. Most of these expenses are usually covered by the insurance provider for the rental car, but there is an additional aspect of their policy that may impact your claim.
Who Might Be Liable After Car accidents?
The first person people think to hold liable after an accident is the negligent driver. This inclination makes sense because the person with the most obvious connection to the car accident is the driver. There are many facts likely to be uncovered during investigation and those facts may influence whom your claim is ultimately filed against.
The circumstances of your crash will be the biggest indicator of who legal action should be taken against. To make this determination, you should consider all individuals/entities that may have played a role in your accident. Oftentimes, an experienced car accident attorney will point out connections to the accident that seem vague at first.
Employers of commercial drivers are required to take the necessary safety measures to protect both their employees and other drivers on the road. However, sometimes these businesses fail to take the necessary precautions to protect their employees and their automobiles. Some businesses might, for instance:
- Ignore the employees poor driving record when hiring
- Allow the employee to perform tasks without proper training
- Incentivize breaking traffic laws
Holding an employer liable for their employees’ actions is a concept referred to as “respondeat superior.” This is a Latin term which means, ‘let the master answer.’ For purposes of personal injury law, the doctrine of respondeat superior enables plaintiffs to hold employers vicariously liable for the injuries caused by their employees. For example, if you hit by a pizza delivery driver, you may have a legal claim against the restaurant.
Automobile manufacturers have a similar duty in ensuring that the cars they produce do not have flaws that make them dangerous to drive. Mechanical failures are often difficult to identify without testimony from an expert mechanic. If the mechanic identifies a potential vehicle defect, liability can be attributed to the vehicle manufacturer.
Many clients initially believe that they’re obligated to make the negligent driver the main defendant in their lawsuit. While the negligent driver will surely be somewhat involved in the claim, the claim is not always filed against them. Oftentimes, lawyers, after analyzing the fact of the case, uncover outside factors that suggest other people/entities were responsible for the accident.
How to Prove Liability after a Car Accident?
There are four elements that you need to establish to prove that the other driver’s negligent or reckless behavior led to your collision and injuries. For you to legally hold the other motorist accountable and obtain compensation, you will need proof to support each of these claims. The following four elements that must be proved are:
- The driver had a duty to keep you reasonably safe
- The driver failed to abide by their obligation
- The driver’s failure caused the accident
- Your injuries are attributable to the accident
Consider a scenario where two drivers approach an intersection, and one of the drivers fails to stop, leading to a T-bone collision. They strike the side of your car as you cross the intersection, resulting in your injuries. The most used pieces of evidence to prove that they were negligent includes:
- Police report of the accident
- Photos and videos of the accident scene
- Reconstruction of the accident
- Relevant medical records
- Eyewitness testimony
This evidence may be difficult to obtain, especially if you are notified of the accident long after it has happened. The unfortunate part about this is that it gives defendants an opportunity to tamper with and remove critical pieces of evidence. Our team of attorneys can help you with the collection and preservation of evidence.
Need Help? Contact Zinda Law Group Today
All too often are car accidents caused by negligent drivers. After an automobile accident, you may be facing expensive medical bills and a long recovery period. Your time and money should not be lost due to someone else’s reckless driving.
The car accident lawyers at Zinda Law Group can help you understand your legal options following an accident. To understand who may be liable in your case and what compensation you may be entitled to receive, contact the car accident lawyers from Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312. With a 100% free case evaluation and our “No Win, No Fee Guarantee,” you will pay nothing unless we achieve a favorable settlement, judgment, or verdict for your case.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.