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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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Everett-Bellingham WA

When do you call a lawyer?

It’s one of the hardest times in life – after a debilitating accident. No one wants to be in this situation, but what if you are? You don’t have to go it alone. Because negotiating with the insurance company to try to get your bills covered just as your policy should be designed to do, can feel like David phoning up Goliath to try to make a deal. There are personal injury attorneys who spend years specializing in these kinds of situations. Sometimes all it takes is having one represent you to start a process in motion that would lead to a very different outcome than if you were to try to work with insurers yourself. For a list of questions to help you decide if an attorney can help you, click here.

Laredo, TX

Why Are Young Drivers Having So Many Accidents?

One of the most-studied factors has been the issue of age to see whether certain age groups have more accidents than others. The question is obvious: does age appear to play a role in crashes and, if so, which age group has the most car accidents?

Harlingen-Weslaco-Brownsville-McAllen, TX

My Neck, My Back: Epidural Steroid Injections

The violence of any motor vehicle collision can often cause serious neck and back injuries such as protrusions or herniations. When this occurs, injured parties will often visit an orthopedist or pain management doctor who will recommend a series of ESI’s which will provide pain relief and reduce swelling in and around the damaged discs and corresponding nerve roots. 

Mobile, AL-Pensacola, FL

Alabama man convicted of state’s first texting-while-driving manslaughter case

Sometimes people are involved in automobile accidents and the use of a cell phone is a cause or a factor in the accident. If you have been in an automobile accident and you believe that the other driver was using a cell phone when the accident occurred, you should take the following steps...

Providence, RI-New Bedford, MA

Intersection Accident Statistics - failure to obey traffic signals

One of the most common areas for a car accident to occur is at an intersection.Intersection car and motor vehicle accidents account for over 60 percent of all vehicular accidents. Knowing the most common types of intersection accidents and how they occur can help you remain safe while on the road. Learn more here...

Las Vegas, NV

How to Tell Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident

A crucial part of running a car accident case in Las Vegas involves figuring out who is responsible for the wreck. The process ofdetermining fault in a car accident entails numerous steps. This is crucial, as Nevada is not a state that uses a no-fault policy for insurance claims, meaning that someone will be charged with fault in some way.

Harlingen-Weslaco-Brownsville-McAllen, TX

Importance of Preserving Evidence after a Major Car Accident

Because the odds suggest that most drivers will eventually experience a major auto accident, it is imperative that every driver know how to respond when disaster strikes. That response includes understanding the importance of preserving evidence after a major car accident. Go here to learn more about why it is crucial to locate and preserve any evidence after a Texas car accident.

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

Tips on providing a safer experience for super bowl party guests

Statistics show that DUIs spike on Super Bowl days. This year is slated to be one of the biggest events in Super Bowl history, and this means lots of viewing parties. If you're  hosting, read this article from Bellingham personal injury lawyer Bill Coats on how to prevent drunk driving car accidents if you're hosting.

Everett-Bellingham WA

Hit by an autonomous vehicle? How fault may be determined

How could you sue a driverless car! Once these vehicles hit the road en masse as projected - 10 million by 2050 - accidents may go down but they won't go away. Bill Coats Law of Bellingham, Washington writes on issues for car accident claims where fault is disputed by the machines. 

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

Police reports: a key piece in building a solid case for accident victims

If you are the victim of an auto accident, you're probably feeling overwhelmed by the aftermath of the wreck. You may have injuries to heal from, different doctors advising you on what the next steps should be, medical bills coming in, emotional and psychological distress and even PTSD. Also there are the insurance companies to deal with, and lots of paperwork to keep track of. One piece of this puzzle is the police report, a critical part in the necessary next steps after an accident as well as legally mandatory to file in many accident situations. For info on police reports, their importance in building your claim, and other important next steps for accident victims to take, click here.

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.