When do vehicle accidents lead to lawsuits?
Financial compensation for minor injuries resulting from car crashes can usually be resolved through the involved parties' insurance companies. However, tens of thousands of people are seriously hurt or killed in car accidents each year. If serious injuries or death are the result of the negligent actions of another party, be it a driver, pedestrian, cyclist or public official, then the victim or the victim's family may be eligible for financial restitution.
It is important to note that not all vehicle accidents trigger litigation proceedings. Generally, it is only in cases resulting in major property or vehicle damage, serious physical injury or the wrongful death of one or more accident victims that lawsuits are launched. In fatal car accidents, major damages can be awarded to the spouse or family members of the deceased victim.
Do You Have Grounds for a Car Crash Lawsuit?
There are specialized car accident lawyers who deal exclusively with cases involving injuries or deaths resulting from vehicle crashes. These include car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents and vehicle-pedestrian incidents.
Each incident must be judged individually, but some of the most commonly encountered legitimate reasons to launch a car accident lawsuit include:
- Driver error or distraction. If a driver failed to yield right of way, ignored traffic signals or road signs, was speeding or passing unsafely, or was distracted because of cellular phone usage or other reasons, he or she may be legally responsible for damages resulting from accidents.
- DWI. If you or someone you care about was injured or killed by someone who was driving while impaired, you will almost certainly have grounds to sue that individual.
- Vehicle defects. Defective mechanical systems, such as faulty brakes or accelerators, can lead directly to serious car crashes. In such cases, the victim will initiate litigation against the vehicle manufacturer or dealer.
- Road design. Poorly designed roads or missing traffic signs can lead to accidents, in which case the governmental body responsible for the road may be liable. However, these cases can be exceptionally difficult, as immunity may apply.
Criminal as well as civil charges can be initiated against the at-fault driver. Common examples of this include DUI and hit-and-run incidents.
If you, your spouse or a close family member has been hurt or killed in a car accident which was not their fault, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. You have rights under the law, which you should follow up on promptly. Statutes of limitation apply in most car accident lawsuit cases.