We talk a lot about liability, particularly when it comes to car and truck accidents. But what is liability, and how do you go about proving it in a legal situation?
Liability for an accident simply means responsibility for the accident. Liability can fall on one or more people or organizations; for example, if a truck driver is operating a faulty vehicle, both he and his employer (or she and her employer) might be liable for any injuries that occur because of the fault. In a more straightforward case, if a person runs a red light and hits another driver, the person who ignored the light is likely liable.
The issue with liability is that it can be difficult to prove in some cases and easy to dispute. Even in cases that seem cut and dry–such as the red light example mentioned above–defendants may attempt to cast some blame on the plaintiff. If the plaintiff was speeding or not wearing his or her seat belt, for example, the defense might say that the plaintiff is liable for some measure of injuries.
Proving liability begins with investigation and discovery. The police report is a strong document used to prove liability. If someone was ticketed in the accident, that helps to show the person was at fault in some way. The reports also usually record information about both witness statements and officer observations that can be helpful.
In some cases, liability tends to fall automatically on a certain driver. In rear-end collisions, liability is often assumed to be the fault of the driver in the last vehicle. The same is true for left-turn collisions, where fault is often placed on the left-turning driver. This is obviously not true in all cases, which is why an experienced review of the case is warranted if injured drivers wish to seek compensation through legal action.
Source: FindLaw, “Car Accident Liability: Proving Fault in a Car Crash,” accessed June 05, 2015