Negligence. Generally, the majority of auto accident lawsuits are based on the theory of negligence, which is also known viewed as the other party’s failure to engage in a reasonable standard of care while operating a vehicle, using roadways, or following traffic signs and signals. Initial investigations by an attorney or insurance company will assist in determining which party involved acted carelessly and/or violated local traffic laws. To prove negligence successfully in a lawsuit, you must show the other party did not act with the required standard of care; the negligence caused the accident; and the breach of this duty caused your injuries. Such defendants commonly include negligent or reckless drivers, intoxicated drivers, pedestrians, passengers, and bicyclists.
Manufacturer Liability. An injured party in an auto accident may be able to bring a claim against the manufacturer of the vehicle or one of the parts, if a defect in either contributed to or caused the accident. Often times, and regardless of any negligence involved, the manufacturer of the vehicle will be liable for injuries sustained as a result of manufacturing, labeling, or faulty design. To prevail in such a claim, you must be able to prove that the defect at issue occurred at some point during the manufacturing process and thereafter contributed to your injury. It is common for expert testimony and analysis to be required to validate and determine if the defect was established during the manufacturing process or after the vehicle was bought. Successful cases demand that the plaintiff show the defective vehicle or part was “unreasonably dangerous”; the vehicle was being operated as intended; and the vehicle’s performance had not changed since its initial purchase. Some of the more frequent suits against manufacturers concern defective seatbelts, tires, brakes, accelerators, engines, and airbags.
Road Design. In many cases, faulty design, maintenance, or construction of roadways can contribute to automobile accidents. Common causes of such events include:
- Embankments. This occurs when a road is curved, and the outer edge is fixed at an incline as a safeguard. These heightened areas serve to manage traffic so that vehicles can access the outer edge of the road without driving off of it. Sometimes an embankment may be too steep or not elevated properly, putting drivers and their passengers in a position of potential danger/
- Barriers and Guardrails. Physical structures placed on and along a road generally in the form of a barrier, guardrails, medians, curbs, and speed bumps, are meant to influence and encourage safe driving. If the construction of these are poorly designed or inappropriately placed, a motorist’s safety may be in jeopardy.
- Road Surfaces. A variety of changes or alterations that exist on a road’s surface usually alerts a driver of imminent hazards, or without notice, if you leave your lane unexpectedly.
- Signage. Signs are created to give motorists prior notice of sharp turns, approaching intersections, and animal crossings, to name a few. They should be correctly positioned in conspicuous, apparent locations for greatest visibility.
- Traffic Control. Traffic signals, including lights at intersections, yield and stop signs, and pedestrian crosswalks indicators, among others, facilitate safe and efficient traffic flow. Proper arrangement and operation of such signs and signals are imperative.
Wrongful Death. Automobile accidents can be traumatic and devastating, especially if you have lost a loved one as a result. Fortunately, you may be able to seek legal recourse through a wrongful death claim. Under such circumstances, the family and/or survivors of the victim must show their loved one died due to the negligence of another. Damages in the form of economic, non-economic, and punitive may be obtainable.
The Giddens Law Firm can help ensure you receive full benefits from your insurance company and determine whether you are eligible to file a claim for additional damages against the party at fault that caused the accident. Call our offices today at 601-355-2022 for a free consultation to discuss your legal options!