You might think that side-impact accidents occur solely due to the fault of one driver or the other. However, situations do exist in which both parties are at fault for side-impact accidents.
In some states, if both drivers are partially at fault in a side-impact accident, neither driver can recover compensation for their injuries. In other states, one or both drivers may be able to pursue compensation from the other through a personal injury claim.
Overview Of Side-Impact Crashes
Side-impact crashes often occur when one motorist fails to yield to another while entering an intersection, merging onto a road, or making a turn. Another common cause of a side-impact accident is when a motorist fails to follow a traffic signal or stop sign and proceeds into an intersection, striking another vehicle proceeding through the intersection in another direction.
However, in some instances, both drivers may share fault for a side-impact crash. For example, one driver may fail to yield to another in an intersection, but the other driver may be driving while intoxicated or speeding through the intersection. These actions also could contribute to the crash.
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Risks Of Side-Impact Accidents
Side-impact accidents can cause significant injuries, some of which are fatal. In a side-impact crash, the front of one vehicle often strikes directly where a driver or passenger of the other vehicle is seated. Many vehicles, especially older models without side airbags, have little protection for occupants from side-impact accidents, where there is often nothing but a door between them and the other vehicle.
An Injury Lawyer On Our Team Can Help You Prove The Other Driver’s Negligence
The other motorist can be held liable for the accident if you can prove they were driving without due care or recklessly. Examples of driving without due care includes:
- Distracted driving by not paying full attention to the road, commonly arising from using smartphones or in-car technologies
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Driving while fatigued
- Reckless driving, such as speeding
- Failure to obey traffic signs and controls
- Failure to yield
- Illegal passing
- Not taking the proper precautions when making a turn
- Inexperienced drivers
Aside from driver error, other factors could have caused the accident. Some of these factors could include:
- bad road maintenance,
- poor weather conditions,
- poor visibility,
- or defective vehicle parts.
We provide a thorough investigation into the cause of the accident to get to the root of what happened.
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How Is Fault Assessed In Side-Impact Accidents?
How fault is determined in a car accident case depends on a four-step process. If even one of the four elements is missing, the courts will not assess liability.
Step One: Establish Duty Of Care
Before the law will hold someone responsible for another person’s injury, the person under scrutiny must have had a legal duty toward the person who got hurt.
Step Two: Prove Breach Of The Duty of Care
When a person’s conduct does not live up to the standard of the legal duty of care, it is negligence. A driver can be negligent if they tailgate, speed, run a red light, drive under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, text, drive while drowsy, or any other actions that endanger others on the road.
It is possible to be negligent and not be liable for an accident. Many people fail to meet a legal standard but are not at fault in a wreck.
Step Three: Demonstrate Causation
The negligence must be the thing that caused the accident. If there was no accident, there is no liability. For example, if you drive 60 miles an hour in a 55-mph zone or you accidentally went through a stop sign out in the middle of nowhere but there was no collision, there is no fault.
When negligence causes an accident, the careless person can be liable. Let’s say that someone is following another car too closely for safety. The tailgating is negligence. If the traffic suddenly slows, the tailgater will be unable to stop their car in time to avoid rear-ending the vehicle they are following. Their careless conduct is the cause of the accident.
Step Four: Show Damages
You must have quantifiable losses from the accident to pursue a personal injury claim. If you were a passenger in a car and you escaped injury, you will not have a claim against the party whose negligence caused the collision. If you got hurt, however, you can pursue a claim for money damages against the person responsible for the crash.
Scenarios For Liability Analysis
Here is an example of a fact pattern that satisfies all four elements of liability:
- All drivers are supposed to keep a careful lookout. (Duty of care)
- The defendant was texting while driving. (Breach of the duty)
- Because they were not paying attention, they did not notice their car had drifted onto the shoulder of the road, where a pedestrian was walking. (Causation)
- The car struck and injured the pedestrian. (Damages)
We understand these multiple legal requirements can be confusing, but you do not have to worry about these issues. We investigate every car accident case we handle and gather the evidence to prove all four elements of liability.
Our Car Accident Lawyers Can Take Charge Of Your Case
Besides protecting your rights and ensuring you are treated fairly at all times, we provide the following services to help with your case:
- Investigate the cause of the accident
- Gather evidence to build a robust case
- Identify the liable party or parties
- Help mitigate or refute any responsibility you are accused of contributing to the accident
- Evaluate the full financial impact of the accident, including current and any future costs
- Negotiate with insurance companies for a fair settlement
- Review settlement offers
- Represent you in court where necessary
You should also be aware of laws that limit the time you can bring a case against the other party. Per Florida Statutes §95.11, you generally have four years to begin legal proceedings for personal injury and two years for wrongful death. After this time passes, it is unlikely you will be able to seek compensation.
We Go The Extra Mile For Our Clients
In addition to handling the legalities of your case, we provide you with responsive care. For example, we can help:
- Schedule your appointments
- Provide you with frequent case updates
- Respond to your calls and emails as soon as we can
- Give you your attorney’s phone number
If there is anything else you need from us, we encourage you to get in touch with us right away.
We Can Provide These Services For You On A Contingency-Fee-Basis
We understand you may be concerned about meeting your financial obligations on top of managing your recovery at this challenging time.
To lighten these burdens, we offer our services on a contingency-fee-basis. This payment structure means there is nothing to pay up front or out of pocket until we receive a fair settlement or verdict. If we don’t obtain an award for you, you owe us nothing.
We Understand The Frustrations and Challenges You Are Facing
We understand that being injured goes beyond physical pain and impacts your daily life, family, and plans.
By taking the time to understand each of our client’s unique challenges, we can focus our knowledge, resources, and experience on providing you with individualized service.
There Are Many Different Types Of Compensation You Could Be Entitled to Pursue
At our firm, we want you to focus on getting better. We’ll take care of everything else. We can assess and quantify all your damages, which may include:
- Current and ongoing medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs and therapy
- Lost wages and any impact on your future earning capacity and other work-related benefits
- Pain, suffering, and inconvenience
- Property damage
- Scarring, disability, and disfigurement
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral expenses, including burial and/or cremation
- Impaired quality of life
- Transportation expenses
In the tragic event of losing a loved one, we can help you as the surviving family member pursue compensation via a wrongful death lawsuit.
Get Help If You Suffer Injuries In a Side-Impact Accident
Since both parties can be at fault in a side-impact accident, you should seek legal advice if you suffer injuries in this type of crash. You may be able to seek compensation for your injuries and other losses if the other driver was at fault for causing the crash. Even if you are partially responsible for the accident, you still may have legal remedies against other negligent parties.
During a free consultation with a member of our team, you can discuss your case and learn your legal options. An attorney with the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine can fight for the best possible outcome for you. Call to reach the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine and get more information about your legal rights to compensation following a side-impact accident.
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