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What types of fault might apply to car accident cases?

Getting into a car crash is no laughing matter. Some people are lucky to walk away with a few scratches or bruises and some minor vehicular damage. Unfortunately, other people involved in a car accident may be seriously injured. When a person in Lexington is injured in an auto accident, they may want to pursue compensation from the responsible party. In order to do so, however, one need to identify who was at fault.

There are four different kinds of fault under common law. One type of fault is negligence. To act negligently means to act in a manner in which a person has a duty of care, but breaches it and either carelessly or inadvertently does something that causes another person to suffer some sort of damages. For example, if a motorist fails to yield when another vehicle has the right of way and causes a car crash that injures someone, this may be considered negligent behavior.

A second type of fault is recklessness or wanton conduct. Under this type of fault, a person actually and purposely disregards the safety and well-being of other people. A third type of fault is intentional misconduct. Drunk driving is an example of reckless or intentional misconduct.

Finally, a fourth type of fault is strict liability. Strict liability may come into play, even if there was no actual fault. For example, if a crash was caused by a defective vehicle, it may be possible in the right circumstances to hold the manufacturer or designer of the defective vehicle strictly liable.

Keep in mind that determining fault is not always straightforward. For example, while it might be easy to see why drunk driving imposes liability on the drunk driver should they cause a car accident, something like a fender-bender, a multi-vehicle crash or accidents in which both parties committed transgressions make sorting out fault a more nuanced affair. In the end, in any car accident it is important to identify which parties were at fault. Once this is determined, an appropriate remedy can be sought by those injured in the crash.

Source: FindLaw, "Fault and Liability for Motor Vehicle Accidents," accessed Jan. 15, 2018

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