How liability is determined in an accident case

How is liability determined in an accident case?

Liability means legal responsibility for one's acts or omissions. The failure of a person or entity to meet that responsibility leaves them open to a lawsuit for any resulting damages. In order to win a lawsuit the injured party, called the plaintiff, must prove the legal liability of the defendant if the plaintiff's allegations are shown to be true. To achieve this, the plaintiff must provide evidence of the duty to act, the failure to fulfill that duty, and the connection, called the proximate cause, of that failure to injury or harm to the plaintiff.

What evidence can be used to prove liability?

After a motor vehicle collision, it is crucial to prove to an insurance company who was liable. The best way to prove liability is by supporting your side of the story with evidence that can include:

  • The police report: If an accident involved injuries, police will typically come to the crash scene and complete an official report. After a crash, be sure to request a copy of the police report once it is filed, which can take a few weeks. The police report usually contains evidence about liability and can be the best documentation you can provide to an insurance company.
  • Photos of the accident scene: If possible, after an accident it is a good idea to take photos of the scene including any skid marks, the damaged vehicles, and the general area including traffic signs and signals. These photos can be useful as supportive evidence to demonstrate liability.
  • No-Fault Auto Accident Liability: Certain types of accidents are typically considered to be one driver’s fault, including rear-end collisions, since drivers are required to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of them, even if that vehicle stops suddenly.
  • Traffic laws: State traffic laws are often supportive evidence of fault in a traffic accident. When a crash happens because the at-fault driver failed to follow a traffic law, it is easy to find a copy of the state vehicle code to demonstrate their liability.

For any accident resulting in injuries, it is best to get help from an experienced injury lawyer who will collect evidence and effectively present it to an insurance company. And if an insurance adjuster denies the liability of their insured or offers a small settlement, an injury lawyer will take the claim before a judge and jury to obtain a full verdict.

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The True Cost of Severe Brain Injury

There are no winners in such injuries. The severity of brain injuries can take many forms and come with a tremendous number of complications. A Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI, caused by an accident is a devastating diagnosis.

Everett-Bellingham WA

If you've been the victim of a DUI, these statistics won't surprise you

It's no surprise to anyone that drinking and driving are unsafe, illegal, and easily preventable. Most of all to the people who have been harmed by someone's terrible choice to drink and drive. But you are not alone, and these statistics back it up. Bill Coats Law in Bellingham, WA has compiled a list of recent figures of how devastating and far-reaching a problem drinking and driving continues to be.

Everett-Bellingham WA

The most important thing you'll need to prove wage loss for your accident claim

If an accident victim's injuries are serious, it will be impossible to go back to work for awhile. Many people in this situation need to file an insurance claim to cover wage loss, and have many questions about this process. Click here for information on what you need to do to show lost wages for your accident injury claim.

Everett-Bellingham WA

An accident resulting in death brings up many questions for survivors. We have answers.

After an automobile accident, especially when someone has died, it's natural to feel overwhelmed and uncertain about what happens next. Bill Coats Law, in Bellingham Washington, has put together a YouTube Channel to answer some common question in hopes to help accident victims start on the right path to full financial recovery. Click here to get the answers you need.

Everett-Bellingham WA

Tips on collecting physical evidence at the scene of an auto accident

Auto accidents - no matter how minor - are shocking, scary events to all involved. First and foremost, the top priority is to get the injured medical care ASAP, as those first few moments are critical to recovery, and sometimes, survival. However, accident victims have other things to consider too. This article is intended to be shared with friends and loved ones before an accident happens, to keep in mind some things to do in the event of an accident that can help in going through the insurance claims process or even building a tort case. Click for information on the importance of collecting physical evidence after a car crash and other tips. 

Everett-Bellingham WA

4 Tips for car accident victims where fault is disputed

Car crashes are complicated events that happen in the blink of an eye. Many factors can contribute to the series of missteps that make vehicles collide, and many people will look at those factors and have a completely different take on who was at fault. In cases that aren't cut and dried, fault can be disputed. If you've been in an accident where fault is disputed, this article has four tips on what you can do to build a best case scenario for yourself. 

Everett-Bellingham WA

Who Can I Hold Liable in My Passenger Accident Injury Claim?

A driver and passenger have an unspoken agreement every time they get in a vehicle together - that they both have a responsibility to each other to make the drive as safe as possible. Yet it's ultimately the responsibility of the driver to maintain the well-being of all passengers in the car. Behaviors that go against safety - drunk and drugged driving, and distracted driving are two big examples - endanger everyone in the car and around it. These are other factors will have a dramatic impact on determining liability after an accident. Click to learn more from this Bellingham, WA accident lawyer about how negligence and liability are factored in to accident injury claims.


Everett-Bellingham WA

If someone is speeding and hits you, it is almost guaranteed they are at fault

Speed limits are not just recommendations, but established rules that all drivers are expected to follow while operating their vehicles on US roads. Many factors are considered by the engineers who set the limits, such as the road’s characteristics; how wide the shoulder might be, if there is one at all; road grade; and the length of a driver’s line of sight. The limits are set very carefully after an assessment of all these factors, and are meant to keep everyone safe while maintaining a healthy flow of traffic as much as possible. Speeding is against the law. However, some drivers speed, and if you are hit by a speeder, you might be facing a long, arduous recovery. If you're wondering if help is available, click the link to learn more.

Everett-Bellingham WA

The first thing accident victims need to do when the other driver doesn't have insurance

We take to the roads throughout Bellingham and Whatcom County trusting that other drivers will have insurance. But that’s not always the case. You can well imagine the protocol as it’s supposed to happen after an accident: get medical attention for any injuries, file a police report, and exchange insurance information with other motorists involved. What happens if that last step can’t be followed because the driver has no insurance, or a policy that simply doesn’t cover all of the damages that occurred? So quickly, an already a stressful time just became even more worrisome. Click to learn more on what to do if the driver who hits you has no insurance.