Is it always easy to determine who caused a given car accident? No. But it may be even more complex than you think. Here’s a little primer on the issue of liability in modern car accidents.
The state may have a different opinion to yours
Pretty much nothing about car accidents isn’t complex. And liability is probably the most complex issue of them all in this area. You may think that a particular accident, free of geographical context, would be treated the same from place to place. (At least in terms of liability.) But the laws of one state may declare a party liable even if that some person would have been free of guilt in another state. The law may hold steady against someone even when the accident clearly wasn’t there fault. There are states out there who will always hold someone who goes into the back of someone else as the responsible party. And as we all know, such cases are often the fault of the person in front!
Apology as an admission of guilt
When an accident occurs, there’s a period immediately afterwards that’s rife with legal sensitivity. What the drivers do in their shocked and possibly dazed state could have massive implications for liability. Have you ever said “sorry” to someone as a complete reflex, even though an incident wasn’t your fault? This occurs often immediately after a car accident. But don’t do it. Once you apologize, you are, from a legal standpoint, claiming responsibility. Of course, if you both say sorry, then things might be a bit more up in the air.
Considering car insurance
The insurance companies are very much concerned about liability. In fact, there are car insurance policies out there that actually protect you from liability expenses. And yes, that does mean even in cases where you were actually liable and caused bodily harm. Car insurance and liability is a tricky and mostly ethically shady area. Insurance can definitely come in handy whether you’re defending or prosecuting. But there’s even better help available.
Here is a comprehensive resource covering different types of auto insurance.
What will the lawyers say?
The above sections may have convinced you that many liability laws are set in stone. But a good lawyer may be able to argue your case so effectively that some concessions can be made. This is especially important if you were injured in an accident. People will be pretty desperate to pass liability onto you in order to save themselves from huge costs. If the accident was caused by someone else, then you need a lawyer to back you up. You can look for such legal assistance from Hutchison and Stoy.
But what if no-one was driving the car?
People from many years ago may have heard that question and assumed we were talking about ghosts. But these days we know what the reality of a driverless car is. It raises an extremely interesting question. Who exactly is liable if a driverless car causes an accident? Do we blame the person behind the wheel? Do we blame the company who produced the car? Do we try to make legal history by suing the car itself? Driverless cars and liability is still a developing area of jurisprudence. Better keep your eyes out for relevant news!