How Fault is Determined in a Car Accident | Personal Injury Lawyer WA

How Fault is Determined in a Car Accident

By Personal Injury Lawyer Washington December 3, 2020 December 30th, 2020 Auto Accidents

Each year in the United States, there are approximately 6 million motor vehicle accidents. You will likely be involved in one in some form or another. While some can bring serious injuries or fatalities, others can be as minor as a fender bender. Regardless, experiencing a car accident is a stressful event.

There is a lot that needs to be considered, especially if you are looking for legal help. Some of the main concerns are how much it will cost to fix the car and finding adequate legal representation. But before any of that can be determined, there is an elephant in the room that needs to be addressed: who is at fault?

Determining Fault

Unfortunately, this is the crux of most legal issues that follow a car accident. Every state has different laws regarding the fault of drivers. Some states, like Minnesota, are no-fault states, which means all drivers will get “the first party” coverage from insurance regardless of who caused the accident. Washington, on the other hand, is not a no-fault state. It is a comparative fault state, which means the fault can be assigned to either (or even both) parties. This is to determine who is at most fault when it comes to rewarding the damages.

How Fault is Determined

Three things have to be proven when deciding who is at fault. The first is that the defendant expected behavior or a specific duty of care. What this comes down to is simple: a driver is responsible for their car and for following the laws of the road.

The next step is to prove that such duty wasn’t followed. Essentially, the defendant broke the law or displayed behavior that acted unreasonably.

The last step, then, is to prove that such actions were directly the result of the sustained injuries. These injuries could be personal injuries and/or property damage.

So Who is Actually at Fault

With all this being said, Washington is a comparative fault, which makes the legalities much more difficult. This is why getting an experienced personal injury lawyer will help you fully understand the situation and reward you with the damages you deserve.