No two car accident cases are ever exactly alike, but many of them have certain factors and legal claims that are very similar. For instance, one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents is negligence. In these cases, sometimes only one of the drivers involved in the accident may be at fault. In other scenarios, multiple drivers may be held responsible for the actions that caused the accident.
A claim for negligence can arise in a number of different situations, such as when a driver does not stop to look both ways at a stop sign before driving off or if they are texting while driving, as opposed to paying attention to the road.
Some other common examples of events or circumstances that may give rise to a car accident legal dispute include the following:
- Bad weather and/or road conditions: For example, if it is snowing and the roads are covered in black ice or become slippery, which then causes a collision. Bad road conditions that have nothing to do with the weather can also cause an accident to happen. For instance, if construction workers tore up a road and did not repair it properly, or if there are potholes that still need to be patched up.
- Defects in a car or mechanical issues: In some cases, a mechanical issue or design defect in a person’s car can cause a motor vehicle accident. A mechanical issue and a design defect may be treated as two separate problems. A mechanical issue refers to something like needing new brakes or tires, whereas a design defect is usually caused by either a car or car part manufacturer.
- Some examples of design defects that could lead to a car accident legal dispute include having a faulty ignition switch, flawed tires, defective airbags or seat belts, and overall design flaws.
- Poor visibility: In this instance, poor visibility relates to factors other than the weather, such as when a tree or sign blocks a driver’s view of the road. Other things that can cause poor visibility include smoke from a fire, ornaments hanging from a driver’s rear-view mirror or sun visor, and misplaced traffic lights.
- Driving under the influence (“DUI”): DUIs, also known as driving while intoxicated (“DWI”) or operating under the influence (“OUI”), is a serious criminal offense. If a driver is drunk or on illegal substances when they get into an accident, they can be sued in civil court as well as charged and issued a sentence in criminal court.
- Various other unpredictable factors: As you may have already guessed, there are many things that can lead to a car accident and car accident dispute. Even something as simple as renting or driving a car that you are not familiar with can cause an accident. Hence, why it is so important to remain vigilant when operating a motor vehicle.
Although the above examples provide a common list of factors that can cause an accident, the resulting dispute may involve other issues, such as disputes over the amount of damages awarded in a case, conflicting reports about the accident itself and how it happened, problems with insurance claims, and whether the individual being sued is the right person to bring a lawsuit against or if another party should be the one held liable instead (e.g., a manufacturer vs. a defendant driver).
In addition, some cases may combine other legal issues aside from a personal injury claim. For example, if a driver caused the accident because they were drunk and they receive a DUI, then that driver can also be charged with the crime of drunk driving. Thus, they will likely face both criminal and civil penalties.
How Are Car Accident Disputes Resolved?
How a car accident dispute is resolved will depend on a number of factors, such as the circumstances surrounding the incident, the laws of the jurisdiction in which the car accident occurred, and the way that the parties to a dispute decide to resolve the case.
For example, if the parties do not want to deal with the hassle and expense of a trial, then they may opt to settle a matter outside of a courtroom through mediation and other less aggressive settlement tactics.
On the other hand, parties who refuse to cooperate with one another or fail to reach an agreement that satisfies all interested parties, may then have to resort to going to court. If this happens, the party bringing a lawsuit will need to file a claim in civil court and proceed through the different stages of a trial.
For instance, car accident disputes often involve an intense examination of the available evidence. This may include items, such as:
- Witness statements;
- Motor vehicle accident reports;
- Receipts for car repairs or medical expenses;
- Physical evidence from the scene of the accident (e.g., skid marks, broken car parts, etc.);
- Expert medical witness reports; and/or
- Photographs, video footage, correspondence, and so forth.
Once the parties have completed the discovery phase of a lawsuit, they will need to get ready for trial. This can involve a number of different tasks, such as preparing oral arguments, creating exhibits, conducting witness prep, selecting a jury (note that this does not apply to every case), and even attempting to settle a matter before the trial starts.
If the defendant wins and has no counterclaims, then the case will be dismissed with the possibility of it being appealed. If the plaintiff wins, however, then they will most likely be awarded damages by the court. A defendant may appeal these results as well.
Basically, there are many factors that go into how exactly a car accident dispute gets resolved. Thus, each case will be handled a bit differently than the next and the outcome of each case can vary based on the parties, the law, and the facts linked to a specific legal claim.
Therefore, a party who is being sued by another driver or who wants to sue the other driver to recover damages for their injuries should speak to a qualified personal injury lawyer to obtain further legal advice.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Car Accident Legal Disputes?
Legal disputes over car accident issues often require the application of complex laws and a sharp eye to sort through all of the facts. Thus, if you are involved in a car accident legal dispute, then it may be in your best interest to contact a local car accident lawyer for further assistance. An experienced personal injury lawyer can review the facts of your case and will be able to determine whether you have a viable claim based on their findings.
Your lawyer can also assist you in preparing documents for your case, filing those documents in the appropriate court, and devising legal strategies to increase your chances of winning during oral arguments. In addition, your lawyer can draft any necessary legal documents, can inform you of your rights under the relevant laws, and can answer any questions you may have throughout the process.
Finally, your lawyer can also discuss the types of remedies that you may be able to recover if your case is successful and can help you in securing those remedies by providing representation on your behalf in court. Alternatively, should you and the other driver decide you want to settle, your lawyer will also be able to represent you during mediation or other types of alternative dispute resolution methods.