Car accident lawsuits are a specific type of personal injury claim that typically involves two or more automobiles. They can also involve pedestrians and bicycles, which is most common in large metropolitan areas. Automobile accident lawsuits can often involve great injury to several parties, as well as severe damage to the vehicles themselves. As such, car accident lawsuits can often result in large damages awards.
Most car accident lawsuits involve unintentional conduct, and are therefore based on a negligence theory of law. The law focuses on whether the person who was negligent breached their duty to the party that was injured. Normally, a person is expected to act in a way to conduct themselves with reasonable care while performing any acts that could foreseeably harm others. Negligence requires the following presentation of evidence, if a civil suit is pursued by the injured party:
- Proof that the driver owed a duty of care to the other party
- The driver breached this duty of care
- The breach was the actual cause of verifiable damages to the plaintiff.
Most driving laws create a duty of care for all drivers, and so most accident lawsuits focus on determining fault, or on the amount of damages to be awarded.
Many types of lawsuits can focus on specific damages or injuries. For instance, many car accident lawsuits focus specifically on whiplash injuries, if a rear-end accident was involved. Complex car accidents may require some use of "reconstruction" technology in the form of complex graphs or timelines to help recreate the scene of the accident. This can help to determine whether the defendant was negligent or not.
Perhaps the most common legal remedy in a car accident is a monetary damages award to offset the costs of the plaintiff’s injuries, as well as the damage to the car or vehicle. Insurance may cover some of the costs, but the person responsible for the injury or damage may be required to show various expenses including hospital bills, medical receipts, therapy expenses, and other costs. They may also be required to pay for mechanical repairs or replacements.
In cases involving a DUI (driving under the influence, or driving while intoxicated), the person responsible may also face criminal charges and consequences. These can include criminal fines, suspension of driving privileges, car impoundment, and possible jail time.
In some cases, products liability or defective cars can sometimes be a factor. For instance, if a car has a manufacturing defect, the car production company may also become a party to the car accident lawsuit. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you identify all those who may be brought into a lawsuit to compensate you for your damages and injuries.
Filing a car accident lawsuit can sometimes get complicated, especially if severe damage or injury has resulted from the accident. Your personal injury attorney can represent you during the trial, and can provide you with valuable legal advice to help you during the process. Also, your will be able to help determine what types of damages or other legal remedies are available to you in your case.