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How can you determine fault and liability in a car accident?

Automobiles are heavily relied on in today's society. Most residents in Pennsylvania are likely to have at least one personal vehicle. While motor vehicles are reliable and relatively safe mode of transportation, they are also the cause of numerous dangers and risks on the roadway. Even when a motorist is traveling safely and by the rules of the road, this does not protect them from the negligence or recklessness of others on the road. When a driver fails to uphold their duty to drive safe, this could be the cause of a very serious or fatal collision.

How can you determine fault and liability in a car accident? There are different factors in a car accident that could place liability on a driver for the damages and injuries that resulted from the crash. These factors are uncovered during the initial investigation as well as investigation conducted following an accident.

Fault, in its simplest terms, means that a person caused an accident. This cause is either created by statutes or is defined by common law. With regards to common law, there are four basic levels of fault. These include negligence, recklessness, intentional misconduct and strict liability. Negligence means that a driver was careless or that an inadvertent conduct by the driver caused harm or damage. This could occur when a driver fails to do something, like not yielding to the right-of-way.

Recklessness refers to a willful disregard for the safety and welfare of others on the roadway. This could occur when a driver is traveling at an excessive speed. Intentional misconduct, which can overlap with recklessness, is when an intentional act by a driver resulted in harm and damage. This is common in drunk driving accidents. Finally, strict liability occurs when liability is imposed even when the determination of fault is absent.

This is only a brief overview of fault in general, and cannot serve as the basis for any legal filing. If you have been injured in a car accident, it is important to understand what rights you have regarding legal recourses. A personal injury claim could help hold a negligent driver accountable for a car accident, also helping the injured party pursue compensation for losses and injuries.

Source: FindLaw, "Fault and Liability for Motor Vehicle Accidents," accessed June 24, 2017

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