There are more than six million motor vehicle accidents each year in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic deaths on US roads reached a record low in 2013; 30,057 people died in traffic crashes. That is a 3% decline from the prior year. The Fatal Analysis Reporting System Encyclopedia (FARS) puts all-time low of total motor vehicle fatalities in 2011 at 29,867.
The good news is that if it has an engine, wings, wheels or a propeller and you can drive it, fly it or otherwise steer it, and you can insure it, crash it and get seriously injured or killed due to someone else’s negligence while you’re doing it then we can do a lawsuit cash advance on it when you sue someone because of it.
While reduced motor vehicle accidents are always great news, there were still over 30,000 people killed in 2013. That figure does not take into account the millions more who will be seriously injured or permanently disabled in vehicle accidents each year.
Exorbitant amounts of motor vehicle crashes happen every year in the United States. While the general figure for motor vehicle accidents are slowly decreasing, this is still not something to celebrate about. Statistics have shown that every 30 minutes, a fatality occurs in an alcohol-related motor vehicle accident. This means that on average, 48 people are killed by this kind of accident each day.
Motor vehicle accidents are not to be taken lightly as they can cause severe injuries, sometimes permanent, on those involved in car crashes. Something as small as a motorcycle can cause permanent brain damage on a pedestrian, and not all people with brain damage injuries can fully recover, leaving the injured person as a vegetable for the rest of his or her life.
Plaintiffs who seek to file lawsuits against those who have caused motor vehicle accidents to occur can possibly claim for compensatory damages in the form of monetary awards. Compensation for damages such as medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost past and future wages, loss of consortium, among many others can do so under the legal system.
While most motor vehicle accidents occur out of negligence, some accidents may also be caused by other factors on the road, or other parties. Plaintiffs can sue negligent parties and other entities responsible for the factors that caused the crash in order to somehow make them whole again through compensation or through a settlement that is agreed upon by both the plaintiff and the defendant.
However, there are several factors that plaintiffs must prove in order to claim for these damages, such as proving that the driver [who caused the accident] was negligent, that the negligent act was indeed a proximate cause for the accident to occur, and that the injuries sustained by the plaintiff was because of the accident.
Usually, motor vehicle accidents are governed by negligence laws, except for states that enforce the no-fault laws. Vehicle drivers or operators are required to exercise care that is equivalent to that of a reasonable person under the circumstances to which they are exposed to when operating the vehicle. Negligence occurs when the driver fails to exercise this reasonable care. The negligent party or defendant, then, may be required to pay for damages to the plaintiff for the injuries his negligent act had caused on the latter entity.
Plaintiffs can receive compensatory damages from the defendant. These damages may include medical expenses, rehabilitation expenses (physical therapy, and counseling are also included), expenses regarding travel for medical care, expenses for medical supplies or devices needed, expenses in hiring someone to perform services because the plaintiff cannot do so due to the injury, lost past and future wages, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, among other damages. Punitive damages may also be recovered, depending on the case. However, in cases of plaintiffs that have partial fault in the accident, the amount of damages that can be recovered may be reduced.
Plaintiffs must prove certain elements to be able to recover damages. Plaintiffs must prove that the defendant/s was/were negligent, that the negligence was an imminent cause of the accident, and that the accident was the cause for the injury to arise.
However, determining who is at fault for an accident may prove to be more difficult than it seems. While most would point the fault on the negligent driver, other circumstances may give rise to other parties to be at fault. Such is the case for accidents involving faulty parts of a vehicle.
Drivers can be liable for accidents because of intentional or reckless conduct on the road. When drivers operate vehicles without regard to safety, they may be deemed as someone with willful disregard for the likelihood of causing an accident.
Traffic safety and law enforcement organizations are continually making efforts to identify and penalize aggressive drivers. Aggressive drivers are identified as those who go over speed limits, tailgate, swerve from lane to lane, flash headlights out of frustration, and engage in other hazardous driving practices. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration identifies aggressive driving that develops into unlawful driving acts as speeding or driving too fast under certain conditions, improper or extreme changing of lanes, failure to indicate or use signal lights to show driving intent, failing to see that certain actions or movements can be done in a safe manner, or the improper use of emergency and shoulder lanes, and improper passing-failing to signal intentions.
Drunk driving is not to be taken lightly. While the intoxicated driver can be held liable for damages in a drunken driving motor vehicle accident, the bar, social host, or whatever entity is responsible for serving alcoholic beverages to the driver may also be held liable for the accident that had occurred. Moreover, if an entity is held liable (for serving alcoholic beverages) for the accident, the inebriated driver’s liability for the accident will not be removed.
As mentioned, some accidents are cause by other circumstances. In cases of defective or faulty parts in a car that caused the car accident, the vehicle manufacturer or the supplier of the defective part can also be responsible for the injuries that an entity sustained from the said vehicle accident. The law of product liability applies in cases such as these.
When a mechanic fails to properly repair a vehicle and the failure is the cause for the accident, then the mechanic, or whoever was responsible for repairing said vehicle, and the person’s employer can also be held liable for the obtained injuries, as negligence.
When accidents arise out of poorly maintained roads or a malfunctioning traffic light or control signals, or poor design or construction of essential highway factors (i.e. signage, utility poles, etc.) , or any other highway defect, government entities may also be held liable for the accident. However, some cases would require the application of special rules to claims and/or lawsuits that are against governmental bodies.
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