How is fault determined in car accidents?

Anyone who has had the responsibility of taking care of a couple of children for any extended period of time knows that sometimes accidents happen. Very often, when the mishap comes to light and the question of who is responsible is posed, the response is something like, “He did it.” “No, she did it.” It’s always the other person’s fault.

In such circumstances, resolving the dispute might be relatively easy. The chaperone, lacking clear evidence of fault, might hold both children responsible and make them both clean up the mess.

That might work alright in the context of a play date, but if the matters involving car accidents in Louisiana, resolution can be a bit more difficult. That’s because the methods of determining liability in car accidents, especially in cases where damages or serious or fatal injury are involved, don’t necessarily depend on what might be the traditional definition of fault.

It’s not simply a matter of saying John Doe caused the accident and must pay. These days, there may be some level of shared liability if it is shown that an accident victim violated one or several motor vehicle laws. This gauging of liability based on statute violations is something many state legislatures have accepted, ushered along by insurance industry lobbyists. For the industry, it means it is easier to spread liability around and minimize their obligations for paying accident claims.

What this means that the outcome of a specific case very much depends on the circumstances involved. In cases where a crash occurred because one driver was drunk, the question of fault and liability may be easy to establish. But in more routine accidents, where any and all drivers might bear some responsibility, state law determines the issue of payment.

Clearly, it can be complicated to assign proper liability in a car accident. So individuals concerned about receiving appropriate compensation for injuries or defending against claims should be speaking with a knowledgeable attorney.

Source: FindLaw, “Fault and Liability for Motor Vehicle Accidents,” accessed Dec. 18, 2015

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