Car accidents happen suddenly and often as a result of a driver acting carelessly, driving too fast, driving while distracted, driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances, or several other factors. Some accidents involve multiple vehicles and multiple causes; others involve vehicles driven by someone who doesn’t own the car, and it can be difficult to understand who is ultimately responsible. If you have been involved in an accident but are unsure who is liable, you should consult with an experienced injury lawyer to help you determine who may be responsible.
Who is to blame: Driver or Owner?
You may think that the driver of a vehicle who causes an accident will always be held responsible. However, that is not always the case. If you have ever allowed someone else to borrow your car, it may be a surprise that you could be held liable if that person causes a car accident. Under Florida law, a vehicle owner may be held liable for a car accident caused by the negligence of a person who borrows the car.
One typical example of owner liability arises when a child borrows their parents’ car. If a child borrows a vehicle owned by their parents and causes an accident, the parent or parents may be held financially responsible for the damage caused.
Depending on the circumstances, an employer might also be held responsible if their employee causes an accident while driving a company car. As a best practice, you should consult with an attorney if you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident and provide the attorney with as much information as possible. This will enable your lawyer to pursue your legal claim against the appropriate parties.
There are some exceptions to the owner liability principle under federal statute. The federal law states that a person who rents a vehicle and causes an accident, not the rental company that owns the vehicle, may be held responsible for the accident. Say you were involved in an accident with someone driving a rental car. In that case, this fact may significantly impact your ability to recover compensation, depending on the driver’s assets or their insurance policy.
What happens when more than one person is responsible for an accident?
A car accident case can be very simple when only one person is wholly to blame for your accident. The responsible party, or their insurance company, will be required to pay for your medical treatment, pain and suffering, lost wages, or other harm you suffer. But you may still be able to recover compensation for an accident in cases where you are partially to blame.
Florida has codified the “pure comparative fault” doctrine, which states that damages can be awarded in proportion to your share of the blame for an accident. Under this doctrine, even if you are partially at fault for an accident, you can still recover from the other responsible party or their insurance company. If you have been involved in an automobile accident and have questions about who may be to blame or whether you can pursue a claim if the car crash is partially your fault, contact the offices of Brian D. Guralnick Injury Lawyers right away to Demand More! We will make sure that you are pursuing the right party and the right legal claim.
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