Who Causes Car Accidents?

For mutually assured safety, drivers are responsible for making the right decisions on the road. Unfortunately, responsible driving isn’t always a reality and an at-fault driver can cause the death or injury of another.

Car accidents are a sadly common occurrence in the United States, standing in as a cause of 35000 annual fatalities according to Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. This averages to about 3,287 deaths per day and a tragic 20-50 million cases of injury and or disability daily. Auto accidents can be caused by many factors, from bad weather and automobile malfunction to drunk driving and speeding. While not all auto accidents are fatal, they can lead to debilitating injuries, costs, or damages.

In many cases, a lawyer can help gain deserved compensation for those who were injured or involved in an accident due to the irresponsibility or negligence of another party. In the cases of driving error, speeding, irresponsible driving, mechanical or highway defects, or drunk driving, the victim might want to seek a lawyer to earn compensation, especially if the victim’s or the offender’s car insurance doesn’t help to cover all costs of the accident. If involved in an accident, contact a car accidents attorney to get the deserved settlements.

The process for pursuing such compensation can vary depending on the case. The injured party is considered the plaintiff and the negligent driver, the defendant. In the preliminary phase, the option to settle might be the first and last step, if the at-fault driver agrees to pay the compensation in order for the lawsuit to be dropped. Many cases actually end in settlement, especially if the at-fault driver is clearly in the wrong and they or their lawyers admit to this wrong. If the settlement isn’t agreed upon, however, the lawsuit can continue and the parties will go to trial. If the lawsuit goes to trial, then the attorneys will fight to prove why the defendant was negligent or irresponsible in the operation of the motor vehicle. There are a lot of reasons to decide to go to trial or not, including how probable it is that you will win, how much money you’ll get out of the lawsuit if you do win, and how immediately you need compensation.

Negligence in driving can take the form of ignoring traffic signs or laws, unsafe driving, use of drugs or alcohol, or negligence of speed limits. However, there are many other sources of negligence or situations that might place the plaintiff in a position to press for compensation.

If the accident is not caused directly by another driver, another party might be at fault. If the accident was caused by a malfunction in the car itself, for example, the automobile manufacturer might owe compensation for the incident. Defective products such as airbags or safety accessories as well as mismanagement such as improper signage or road maintenance may allow the injured driver to press for payment. These malfunctions can either come from design or due to a bad manufacturing batch.

Paying You the Highest Amount is not Your Insurance Company’s Priority

All states in the U.S. require drivers to carry proof of financial responsibility, that is, a proof that they are capable of compensating anyone they might injure in a motor vehicle accident wherein they are at fault. This financial responsibility may be shown by:

  • Carrying auto liability insurance, which is the requirement in 48 states;
  • Paying the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) the required uninsured motor vehicle fee if they decide to register their vehicle as uninsured (paying this fee in lieu of purchasing an automobile liability insurance policy, obtaining a self-insurance certification, depositing money or securities, or securing a surety bond is a practice allowed in the state of Virginia; in the event of an accident, the at-fault driver would be held personally liable in compensating the person that he or she injures); or,
  • Depositing securities or money with the state treasurer or filing an SR-22 (these are alternatives to purchasing an auto insurance policy, a practice allowed in the state of New Hampshire).

The purpose of financial responsibility, or liability coverage, is to compensate an accident victim for the bodily injuries that he or she has been made to suffer and for all other costs or losses resulting from the injuries.

Some of the types of auto insurance coverage include:

  • This pays for injuries to others and damage to their property if were at fault accident.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP), also known as “no-fault.” This type of coverage pays for your and your passengers’ medical bills by your own insurer even if the accident is not your fault, and may also pay for lost wages, funeral expenses and other losses.
  • This will pay if your car was stolen or damaged by something other than an accident.
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist. This pays for damages resulting from an accident caused by an uninsured, underinsured or hit-and-run driver.

In the 48 states where carrying auto liability insurance is required, the type of insurance coverage that drivers need to carry depends on the “liability” system recognized in the state where they reside. In states where the “fault” system is recognized (also called “at-fault” or “tort liability” system), the tort insurance coverage is what drivers will need to purchase.

Under the “fault” system, accident victims can get compensation from their own insurance provider or from the at-fault driver’s insurance company; the victim may also decide to file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Compensation to be paid to the victim will cover cost of medical treatment, loss of income, pain and suffering, and damage to property.

In “no-fault” states, accident victims can recover financial losses from their own insurance providers, regardless of whose fault the accident is. Two major advantages this system has over the “fault” system is that, one, the victim will no longer have to file a lawsuit just to seek compensation (from the at-fault driver) and, two, seeking compensation will also no longer be a problem for: victims of hit-and-run; those whose are hit by a driver in a stolen vehicle; or those who are hit by a driver who is either uninsured or underinsured.

The Chicago car accident attorneys at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC, explains, however, that despite all the payments you made in good faith to your insurance company, it is pretty safe to assume that your insurer—not to mention someone else’s insurer—will try to avoid giving you any more than they absolutely have to pay you. Unfortunately, even getting the bare minimum can be a difficult task for accident victims.

An article in the website of consumeraction says that tt’s not uncommon for policyholders to disagree with an insurer about the value of their damaged or stolen property, whether a claim should be covered or what constitutes a fair settlement amount. One thing to remember during the claims process: Paying you the highest amount possible to settle your claim is not the insurance company’s priority. If your claim is denied and you believe it should be covered, or if you feel the payment you are offered is insufficient, it’s up to you to fight for what you think is fair.