Types of Fault in Car Accident Cases
If you are involved in a car accident and you want to receive compensation for your injuries from the driver who caused the accident, you will need to prove that the other driver is at fault. The two most common types of fault are (1) negligence, and (2) recklessness. Another type of fault is called strict liability, which may be imposed for some accidents that involve certain defective products or extra hazardous activities such as transporting explosive chemicals. It can be difficult and complicated to prove that another driver should be held liable for your injuries, so it is important that you consult with an experienced attorney before bringing a legal action after your car accident.
The most common type of claim that is made during car accident and personal injury cases is that another party is negligent and should be required to pay for your injuries. Negligence means that someone was careless and his or her conduct inadvertently resulted in harm or damage to you. There are many things that someone could do that would result in a finding that he or she was negligent. Someone can be negligent for failing to take an action such as not yielding the right-of-way to avoid an accident. Someone can also be negligent if they actively do something such as running a red light or a stop sign. Additionally, courts will usually presume that someone is negligent if he or she violated a traffic law. Even if the violation is relatively minor, such as failing to signal a lane change, the burden will be on the person who violated the law to prove that he or she was not negligent.
A less common type of claim made in car accident cases is that a person was reckless. This means that the person willfully disregarded the safety and welfare of others. Probably the most common example of reckless conduct is drunk driving. When someone causes an accident while he or she is driving under the influence of alcohol, the level of carelessness being shown rises above being simply negligent. It is so likely that a drunk driver will cause an accident and it shows such a disregard for the safety of others that the individual will likely be found liable under the more serious theory. The distinction between negligence and recklessness is important because if someone is found to be reckless, it could lead to the individual being required to pay punitive damages. Punitive damages consist of monetary compensation awarded to an injured party that goes beyond what is necessary to compensate the victim for losses, and these damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer.
If you have sustained injuries in a car accident and you believe another individual may be at fault, contact the experienced West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys at Pike & Lustig, LLP for a consultation.