Typically, the person who opened their car door before the accident will be held responsible for any damages. However, determining fault after a car door is hit can be difficult, and it often involves a number of factors.
If the moving vehicle had the right of way – which they typically do – then you will be responsible for the ensuing damage. Generally, cars have the right to stay in motion on most roadways. People need to carefully check their mirrors before opening their doors close to oncoming traffic because drivers will not have much time to react.
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We Can Determine who is at Fault
Even so, the actions of the driver can contribute to the accident. For example, if the driver was texting behind the wheel before the accident and they had plenty of time to react to the open door, they may be partially liable.
Ultimately, fault for these accidents is determined on a case-by-case basis. If you retain a car accident lawyer, your attorney can examine all the exterior factors that contributed to the accident. After reviewing the local laws in your area and gathering evidence on your behalf, they can educate you about your options moving forward.
Understanding what Happens when Both Parties Share Fault for an Accident
Fortunately, liability can be split among multiple parties in the state of Florida. This concept, known as “comparative fault,” means that you can still seek damages even though you are partially to blame.
According to Florida Statutes §768.81, the actions of every party will be considered when determining who should be held liable for the majority of the accident (thereby shouldering the burden of paying out damages). That includes non-human factors like inclement weather, defective vehicle parts, debris in the roadway, and more.
Overview on the Percentage of Liability
Naturally, the total percentage of liability will equal 100% between all contributing factors. As long as your actions made up less than 50% of the total amount of liability, you are eligible for compensation.
Most importantly, you should know that any percentage of liability above 0% will have a negative effect on your settlement. Before the case is concluded, the presiding court will reduce your settlement proportionate to your percentage of involvement.
If you retain a car accident lawyer, your attorney can help gather evidence that provides important context to your involvement. After all, you want the evidence to speak for itself while the court is reviewing how much liability you share for your accident.
Different Methods for Determining Liability After a Car Accident
In today’s modern age, there are countless ways to determine who (or what) contributed to a car accident. Some of the more common methods include examining cell phone data, gathering eyewitness testimony, analyzing physical evidence, and more.
If you retain the services of a car accident lawyer, your attorney can draw upon their previous legal experiences to help you get to the bottom of your case.
While no two cases are exactly the same, car accident lawyers tend to utilize a few common sources of evidence, including:
- Police reports
- Testimony from forensic specialists
- Examinations from accident reconstruction experts
- Video evidence, often taken at the scene of the accident or pulled from surveillance footage
- Photographs taken before and after the accident
- Statements from everyone involved in the accident
- Local traffic laws
- Legal precedents from similar cases
- The defendant’s behavior following the accident
Your case is as strong as the evidence that supports it. We could use other pieces of evidence than those listed here.
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Don’t Forget Florida’s Statute of Limitations
Florida Statutes §95.11(3)(a) gives you a four-year window to file a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident. You have a two-year window to file a wrongful death lawsuit. While some exceptions may apply to your case, if you neglect to file your case within the correct period, you may be unable to take legal action.
If you wish to proceed with your case, we can be there for you at every turn. Our attorneys can represent your case in civil court, negotiate settlements on your behalf, contact expert witnesses, and so much more.
Our Florida Car Accident Lawyers are Ready to Help You Fight for Justice
Here at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine, we want to help simplify the legal process. Car accidents can be jarring – physically, mentally, and financially. The last thing we want to do is make things more complicated during this challenging time.
If you find yourself wondering who is at fault after an open car door is hit, our team of attorneys can be there to help put things into a clearer perspective. After we learn more about your case, we can educate you about your right to compensation moving forward. Call to begin your free case review.