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How are fault and liability determined in car accidents?


Collisions between two cars are the most common type of traffic accidents on roadways in most of the country, including Illinois. These auto accidents often produce catastrophic injuries and deaths. Naturally, after any car accident, the question of who was at fault arises. If you were involved in a car accident and have sustained injuries as a result of that collision, then you may be wondering if you are entitled to compensation. You may be, but first fault and liability must be established.

Some car accidents show obvious signs or evidence that one party was entirely responsible for the crash. For example, a speeding car runs a stop sign and strikes another car, injuring people and damaging property. Obviously, the driver of the speeding car was at fault and will be required to pay damages under the law of negligence. In a great many cases, however, the party at fault may not be obvious until traffic investigators examine the crash scene, gather evidence and talk with any witnesses.

There are four basic levels of fault -- negligence, recklessness, intentional misconduct and strict liability. Negligence refers to failure to exercise the due care that prevents accidents, while recklessness is about disregarding the safety of others. Under tort laws, each party's contribution to the crash is measured. A strict liability can be imposed even if there is an absence of fault; a typical example is a vehicle transporting hazardous chemicals causes secondary injuries as a result of an accident.

Determining liability in car accidents can be tricky and this post cannot explain everything. If you want to learn more about how to obtain compensation, speak with a personal injury lawyer. An experienced attorney can answer all of your questions. By doing so, you can determine if you can be entitled to compensation that can be used for your recovery.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Fault and liability for motor vehicle accidents," accessed on Sep. 2, 2014

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