The Basics of Auto Accident Liability: Who is at Fault for an Injury?

Most people think determining who was at fault for an auto accident is pretty simple. Vehicle A went through an intersection and ignored a red light then hit vehicle B, injuring the driver. Who is at fault? Driver A? Well, sometimes it is not as simple as you think.

In any personal injury case, there may be several causes of an accident and sometimes multiple parties may be held liable for such a crash. In the illustration given, if you tweak the facts, you will realize that several parties may be responsible for the accident. For instance, it may be argued that vehicle A’s driver couldn’t have stopped in time at the red light because;

  • He or she was drunk after drinking too much alcohol in a bar. It was clear that the driver was intoxicated.  
  • Vehicle A’s recent brake job was done improperly and so, the vehicle’s brake system failed.
  • Vehicle A’s driver was asleep at the wheel due to the side effects of certain medication prescribed by a doctor who didn’t warn the driver about the medication’s side effects.
  • The road intersection was on a curve, and though the vehicle A’s driver was going the posted speed limit, he or she couldn’t have stopped in time.

Note that fault simply means there is a factual and logical connection between what one of the parties involved in the accident did, but should not have done which resulted in an accident that caused injuries and/or property damage. Therefore, it is recommended to consult with an experienced and highly skilled Rockford personal injury attorney who can analyze the details of your case and advise you accordingly. The lawyer can also help you determine whether or not you have a valid personal injury claim.

In the instance of a traffic accident mentioned earlier, one or more of the following parties may be held responsible for the injuries and property damage.

  • The vehicle driver
  • The bar owner, whose workers supplied alcohol to the driver
  • The vehicle repair shop owner who failed to use reasonable care when repairing the brakes
  • The pharmacist, drug maker, doctor, distributor or seller who failed to indicate the side effects of the medication
  • The specific government entity that was responsible for the construction of the section of the road.

In many personal injury lawsuits, the plaintiff uses the theory of negligence to prove how the defendant made a preventable mistake, caused the traffic accident, and as a result, the defendant must be held liable. In any negligence case, it is the plaintiff’s burden to prove that is more than likely the defendant who caused the traffic crash and must be held liable for the injuries and cause of property loss.

Always remember that facts are always the basis of finding fault and making sure that the at-fault party is held liable for the accident. Given the importance of facts, if you have been injured in an accident, consider contacting your attorney as soon as you can.


News Reporter