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Negligence and Determining Cause of Car Crashes & Automobile Accidents

Fault in an automobile accident is usually determined by the law of negligence. If a person negligently operates a vehicle and injures another person or damages property, that person may be required to pay any money damages. People must exercise a standard called “reasonable care under the circumstances” when operating a motor vehicle. Failure to do so is often the basis in determining damages caused by an accident. Many factors can contribute to the question of whether a driver was negligent, and courts look for these in determining fault. Some of these factors, but not all, are:

  • Failure to obey traffic signs or signals;
  • Failure to signal when turning;
  • Careless driving;
  • Failure to follow the speed limit;
  • Driving a car under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol;
  • Texting while driving accidents;
  • Distracted driving;
  • Cell phone distracted driving accident;
  • Car accidents caused by defective or recalled vehicles;
  • School bus accidents;
  • Violation of some other law;

Recklessness implies the doing of a negligent act knowingly. Any person who drives any vehicle in such a manner as to indicate either a willfull or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is negligent and reckless and may also be held liable for the cause of the accident.  By the same token, a injured driver may be barred or limited in recovering damages as a result of their own contributory negligence.

Automobile Accident Caused by Product Liability

There are other factors that contribute to automobile accidents that are unrelated to the driver conduct. An automobile manufacturer or supplier may be held responsible for damages that result from an accident under the law of product liability. Product liability lawsuits can be brought against the seller or manufacturer of a product if it is deemed a “defective product” and was a contributing factor in the accident. Additionally, if the cause of the accident is due to the fault in the design, development, or labeling of the product, the manufacturer is liable for damages.

Other examples of possible automobile accident liability cases include:

  • Faulty vehicle repairs by mechanics;
  • Malfunctioning traffic signals;
  • Poorly maintained roads;
  • Improper road design;
  • Road construction;
  • Maintenance;
  • Lighting;

A restaurant or establishment may be liable for damages if they continued to serve alcohol to an intoxicated guest who then is involved in an automobile accident.

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