Fault in a motor vehicle accident is defined in common law or by statute. Common law establishes 4 main levels of fault and those are negligence, strict liability, wanton or reckless conduct and intentional misconduct. If you are reading this article because you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an accident that was not your fault, we highly recommend you consult with an experienced vehicle accident lawyer regarding your claim.
Negligence typically means that unintentional or careless conduct resulted in damage or harm. It is the main factor in a good majority of motor vehicle accidents and can include both passive and active types of fault. For example, passive fault can result from failing to do something such as granting the right of way. Active fault can result by taking wrongful action, such as in the case of running a red light. Wanton or reckless conduct refers to a person’s deliberate disregard for the welfare and safety of another. Strict liability can apply, even when there is lack of fault, for accidents that involve certain kinds of defective products, etc. Intentional misconduct takes place when a person or entity intentionally causes damage or harm to another individual.
In common law, a person who caused a motor vehicle accident has committed what is called a “tort”, meaning a wrong doing against another that is not founded in a contract. In most cases this fails to constitute a crime in the eyes of the law. Individuals who commit torts are typically referred to as a “tortfeasor” by the law. It is common for a motor vehicle insurance company to use the wording “tortfeasor” as a reference to individuals who may be partially at fault for the accident.
Fault is rarely questioned when a tortfeasor engaged in reckless or intentional misconduct, such as getting behind the wheel and driving drunk. It is not as clear cut when general negligence is involved and establishing fault can become far more complex. Also, it is not uncommon for more than one person or entity to have inadvertently played a role in the accident. Examples of this could include a government agency in charge of maintaining traffic lights that malfunctioned and contributed to an accident or a car parts manufacturer. When more than one tortfeasor is involved, state law will dictate who is liable for property damage and injuries. A skilled vehicle accident lawyer has in-depth knowledge of the law, and can advise victims of motor vehicle accidents of the strengths and weaknesses of their case and how best to pursue full financial recovery.
If you live in Dallas, San Antonio, Tyler, Atlanta, Baltimore, NYC, Long Island, San Francisco, LA, Nashville or anywhere else in the U.S. and were injured in a motor vehicle accident it is wise to seek the advice of an experienced and highly skilled vehicle accident lawyer.
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