Strict liability law is different from negligence law. With strict liability, an individual or entity can be responsible for an accident even if they were not actually at fault. However, in a negligence claim or lawsuit, a person or entity must have failed to do something that a hypothetical reasonable person should have done in the same situation—or taken some action that a hypothetical reasonable person should not have taken in the same scenario.
In some instances, employers can be strictly or vicariously liable for the negligent acts of their employees. This is especially true when drivers operate an employer vehicle and cause a motor vehicle accident due to their negligence.
If you suffered injuries in a car crash that resulted from a driver’s negligence, you should speak with an experienced car accident lawyer in your area as quickly as possible. Your lawyer can review police reports and other documents and, if necessary, retain an accident reconstructionist to figure out exactly how your accident happened.
Your lawyer can then file a personal injury claim against all potentially responsible parties, including the at-fault driver and their employer, if the driver was operating a company vehicle at the time of the accident.
Next, your lawyer can assist you with negotiating a fair settlement offer that truly compensates you for the full extent of your injuries and other accident-related consequences. Finally, if the insurance company for the responsible driver or their employer refuses to take your case seriously, your lawyer can explain all of your litigation options and help you pursue the best course of action for your case.
Injuries That Car Crash Victims May Suffer
Car crash victims frequently suffer injuries due to the force of the collision and the back-and-forth jerking movement of their bodies. Car accident victims may also sustain injuries when the collision force causes a part of their body to strike a part of their vehicle.
Every car accident scenario is different, and accident victims may sustain vastly different injuries depending on their circumstances. In minor accidents, for example, the accident victim may only sustain a minor laceration or a bruise from the seatbelt or airbag in their vehicle. However, in a forceful collision, the car accident victim can suffer a traumatic head or brain injury, soft tissue injury, or broken bone. They might also suffer a crush injury, spinal cord injury, or paralysis injury in their accident.
No matter your injuries in a car crash, you should seek immediate medical treatment following your accident. Many accident-related injuries do not appear right away. Therefore, it is best to have a healthcare provider examine you, take the necessary imaging studies, and determine the full extent of your injuries.
In addition to seeking same-day medical treatment after a car collision, you should follow through with any medical treatment that your healthcare provider recommends while you are in the emergency room. In the meantime, a knowledgeable car accident lawyer in your area can begin advocating for you by gathering the documents necessary to prove your claim or lawsuit. While your lawyer is taking care of the legal components of your claim, you can concentrate on getting medical treatment and recovering from your injuries.
Common Causes of Car Crashes
Car accidents, including head-on collisions, T-bone accidents, rear-end crashes, and sideswipe accidents, typically result from various types of driver negligence. When a driver fails to observe the road or operates their vehicle in a reckless manner, it is very easy for them to cause serious accidents, which may leave a driver or passenger in need of immediate medical care.
First, some car crashes happen when drivers become fatigued at the wheel. They may not have had enough sleep, or they may be the victim of highway hypnosis if they are on a long road trip. Whatever the case, a fatigued driver often lacks concentration and cannot observe the road. A drowsy driver may even fall asleep at the wheel, causing them to lose control of their vehicle and crash with another vehicle or a pedestrian.
Next, some car accidents happen when drivers are under the illegal influence of drugs or alcohol. Alcohol, in particular, can severely affect a person‘s ability to drive safely because it slows down their central nervous system’s ability to function. As a result of alcohol or drug impairment, a driver might experience blurred vision, preventing them from seeing an approaching vehicle on a nearby road. Additionally, the driver’s reaction time might become delayed. As a result, a drugged or intoxicated driver may be unable to stop their car before a collision happens.
Moreover, some car accidents occur due to distracted driving. When a driver fails to wash the road attentively, they often fail to observe pedestrians and other vehicles in the surrounding area. Numerous devices and vehicles may distract drivers, including in-car music systems, GPS navigation devices, cellular phones, and even other vehicle passengers.
Finally, some car accidents happen when drivers violate traffic laws, including right-of-way laws and speed limits. When a driver violates a traffic law, their chances of causing a traffic accident increase significantly.
If you suffered injuries in a car crash that a reckless driver caused, you can file a personal injury claim directly against the at-fault driver, and in some cases, against their employer, if the driver was on the job at the time the crash happened.
An Employer’s Strict Liability for Motor Vehicle Accidents
Employers can be strictly liable for a motor vehicle crash if the at-fault driver caused the accident while operating a company vehicle on the job—and while working within the scope of their employment. Therefore, commercial trucking companies and delivery companies that employ drivers may be responsible for motor vehicle accidents that result from one of their driver’s negligence.
Likewise, an accident victim can bring a personal injury claim against both the at-fault driver and their employer, seeking monetary damages. However, in most instances, the insurance company for both is the same entity.
If a driver was not acting within the scope of their employment at the time of the accident, the employer might not become automatically liable. For example, the driver might have been on a detour at the time when the accident happened. In other words, they might have visited a restaurant or proceeded on some other personal errand other than company business. In those instances, the employer may defend that they should not be responsible for their driver’s negligent actions.
A knowledgeable car accident lawyer in your area can determine if you’re eligible to bring a personal injury claim or file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver’s employer. If you are eligible to pursue a claim, your lawyer can help you recover all of the accident-related damages you deserve.
Filing a Timely Claim or Lawsuit after a Car Crash
After filing a personal injury claim with the negligent driver or employer’s insurance company, your lawyer can deal directly with the insurance company adjuster who is handling the claim. Adjusters often make personal injury claims difficult, as they do not want to pay out fair compensation to resolve the case.
Insurance companies are not interested in helping or compensating accident victims. Instead, they are concerned only about their bottom line and will do anything to limit or eliminate the need to pay out monetary damages to a car crash victim.
During the negotiation phase of a car accident claim, the settlement adjuster and the accident victim’s lawyer may negotiate several times. Settlement negotiations are often long and drawn out when insurance company adjusters refuse to compensate accident victims fairly. Moreover, if the adjuster disputes fault or liability for an accident, it may prolong the case significantly.
If the case does not settle out of court, the accident victim’s lawyer may need to litigate the case in court. A lawyer does this by filing a lawsuit in the court system and beginning the discovery process.
During discovery, the parties exchange documents and other potential evidence related to the case. The defence lawyer may also send the accident victim or their lawyer written questions, called interrogatories, to learn more about how the accident happened, the injuries that the accident victim suffered, and the medical treatment that they underwent after their accident.
The defence lawyer may also note the accident victim’s discovery deposition to help fill in any blanks. Some cases eventually settle during litigation, while others must proceed all the way to a civil trial or mediation or binding arbitration hearing.
When a personal injury case goes to court, a court will decide what, if any, compensation to award the injured accident victim. If the court awards the victim monetary compensation, the at-fault driver, their employer, or the insurance company may have to pay damages.
Alternatively, at a mediation or arbitration hearing, the parties select a neutral mediator or arbitrator to assist in decide the total monetary damages to award the accident victim for their losses.
A skilled car accident lawyer in your area can help you pursue the monetary compensation you deserve to recover from the at-fault driver, their employer, or their insurance company.
Pursuing Monetary Damages From the At-fault Driver or Employer’s Insurer
Car and truck accident victims who sustained severe injuries due to someone else’s negligence are eligible for various forms of monetary recovery. Since each accident’s circumstances are unique, not all accident victims will be eligible to recover the same damages.
Generally, the more severe an accident victim’s injuries, the higher the monetary compensation they may pursue or recover. Moreover, if an accident victim sustains a permanent injury in their accident, they are more likely to recover significant monetary damages than if the accident victim suffers a superficial injury.
First, car and truck accident victims can recover monetary damages for their lost wages if they have to miss work time following their accident to attend medical appointments. If they had to take a pay cut after switching jobs due to the injuries they suffered, they can bring a monetary claim for loss of earning capacity.
Car and truck crash victims can also pursue monetary damages for their emotional anguish, mental distress, permanent disfigurement or impairment, loss of life enjoyment, loss of the ability to use a body part, or past and future pain and suffering. A skilled personal injury lawyer in your area will do their utmost to maximize the monetary recovery you receive for your injuries via a personal injury claim or lawsuit in the court system.
Call a Skilled Car Accident Lawyer in Your Area Right Away
Car crash victims who suffer injuries due to another driver’s negligence—or an employer’s imputed negligence—have a very short window of time to seek the monetary damages they deserve. In a car accident case, the accident victim needs to file a lawsuit within two years from the accident date. Filing a lawsuit belatedly virtually guarantees that the court will dismiss their case and prevent them from recovering monetary damages at a later time.
Therefore, you should retain a skilled personal injury lawyer right away who will be aware of the statutory deadline in your case—and who can file a prompt lawsuit in the court system on your behalf. The legal system is complex and difficult to navigate. It is never a good idea to try and handle it yourself. People who don’t have representation seldom receive as much compensation as those who do.
In addition to assisting you during settlement negotiations and throughout litigation, your lawyer can make recommendations on how best to handle difficult situations that arise in your case. For instance, your lawyer can help you decide whether you should consider accepting a particular settlement offer or reject the offer and take your case to trial.
Whatever you decide, your lawyer will advocate for you at every stage of your claim and maximize the monetary damages you recover.