There are many factors that go into determining who is liable for financial damages in an accident case. Most factors are fairly straight forward, but can become muddy as you dig deeper into the facts surrounding an accident. For instance, a person who initially seemed to be at fault, can be found only partially at-fault if the other party was speeding, or driving without headlights in the dark or a number of other moving violations. For many years, the decision of who will be responsible for paying damages in an accident rested on the common law understanding of fault. However, in more recent times that has shifted to rest primarily on motor vehicle statutes determining fault.
The insurance industry has pushed hard to have laws changed to make auto accident liability be based more on motor vehicle statutes rather than on common law notions of fault. They have done this to make it easier for themselves to challenge fault when the other party (or parties) involved in the accident have violated a traffic law of some type. This works to their advantage by minimizing the amount they will need to pay in damages when the other party’s insurnace is also on the hook for their insured’s partial negligence.
The evidence required to prove your personal injury claim varies based on whether your claim is based on negligence or strict liability (an often times both). It may be easier to recover damages in a situation where strict liability applies, however it is also important to know that the standards can be very different to proving both.
The basis of a negligence claim is that someone had a legal duty to do something or not do something, and the person breached his duty to you. For example, Southern California drivers have a duty to be on the lookout for potential hazards while driving. If a driver hits your car because he is fiddling with the radio or texting instead of being on the lookout, he breaches his duty to you, and you may have a negligence claim against him.
Strict liability applies in a situation that is so dangerous, there is no question that the other person should be held liable. In California, handling, storing, transporting or using explosives is considered an ultrahazardous activity that triggers strict liability if someone is injured. Similarly, strict liability applies against the owner of a violent dog or other animal. When a Southern California jogger was fatally mauled by four pit bulls last May, the dogs’ owner was strictly liable for damages. Learn More about Strict Liability here.
Have questions about liability pertaining to your accident or injury case?
The lawyers at TorkLaw can analyze your claim to determine whether it is a negligence or a strict liability claim. The facts in every situation must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis to assess liability and what standards you may need to prove in your case. Call the attorneys at TorkLaw to discuss your case. Our team of experienced lawyers can help you understand how liability will be determined in your accident case. Consultations are free. Contact us today at (888) 845-9696.