If you’ve been injured in an automobile accident, you might automatically assume that it was solely the fault of the other driver. But car wrecks are often far more complex than this. Especially when it comes to determining who’s liable for your injury or property damage. A car accident attorney will consider several other potential defendants as well in an effort to help you obtain as much compensation as possible.
Sand Law has a staff of skilled attorneys who have a great deal of experience in determining who is liable in an automobile accident. Please get in touch with us to learn more about how we may be able to help you. Contact us online or call 651-291-7263 for a free consultation.
Defining Car Accident Liability
The insurance companies for both drivers involved in an accident are largely responsible for determining who’s at fault. But even in supposedly obvious cases, such as a rear-end accident, determining liability can oftentimes be anything but cut-and-dried.
Once the insurance companies navigate all of the complexities, they will then decide how fault will be distributed. Minnesota is a state that follows what are known as comparative negligence laws. This basically means that both drivers could potentially share the blame.
For example, one driver could be found to be 70% at fault. And the other could receive 30% of the blame. Let’s say the driver who was 30% at fault sued the other. That driver may be able to collect 70% of whatever damages were awarded by the court.
Again, however, driver vs. driver claims are not the only ones filed after a car wreck. The following sections will cover some of the more common liability claims that can arise from an accident.
Types of Motor Vehicle Accident Claims
1. Liability Claims Against Another Driver
This is the most common type of claim made after an accident involving a vehicle. You could have been the driver of the vehicle that was struck, or you might have been a pedestrian hit by a car. You could have been riding a bicycle or motorcycle. Whatever the case may be, there’s a good chance you’ll make this kind of claim.
It will be up to your attorney to help prove the suffering you experienced occurred due to the negligence of one or more other drivers.
2. Dram Shop Liability Claims
This is a type of claim known as a “third-party” claim. If you were hurt in an accident caused by an inebriated driver, you might be able to sue the bar, restaurant or other establishment responsible for over-serving that person. If that driver became intoxicated at a private party, you may be able to sue the homeowner.
3. Uninsured/Underinsured Liability Claims
Sometimes, a person will be hurt in a car accident caused by someone who either has no insurance coverage or is underinsured, meaning his or her policy isn’t large enough to cover the victim’s medical and other expenses.
The good news is that as long as you have PIP (personal injury protection) and uninsured/underinsured coverage, your own policy should provide substantial compensation. It’s typically not worth it to sue an underinsured or uninsured driver. If they can’t afford insurance, they probably won’t be able to provide the compensation you need.
4. Product Liability Claims
Car accidents often occur not because of negligent driving, but due to a product failure. A faulty tire may have blown or defective brakes may have failed. These and other manufacturing defects could have contributed to the collision.
You may be able to sue the manufacturer if the failure of a defective part resulted in the accident that led to your injury. It’s likely that the defect occurred in many other vehicles that the manufacturer made. If that’s the case, then you may be able to participate in a class action lawsuit with others who also suffered injuries.
5. Government Car Accident Liability Claims
In some cases, a poorly maintained or designed road contributed to the accident. If so, you may be able to file a claim against the jurisdiction responsible for road upkeep, such as a city or a county. Your lawyer will have to be able to prove that the governmental entity either should have known or knew that the hazard existed. These types of cases are rare because bringing a lawsuit against a government entity is incredibly difficult.
6. Wrongful Death Liability Claims
You may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim if you tragically lost a loved one due to an automobile accident caused by the negligence of another party. You can file this type of action yourself. Or a personal representative can initiate a suit on behalf of the surviving members of your family. You can also ask the court to appoint a trustee to pursue the claim if you don’t want to or cannot do it yourself.
7. Medical Malpractice Liability Claims
While rare, medical malpractice claims can sometimes be filed as the result of car accidents. If the other driver caused an accident due to a medical mistake, you may be able to sue his or her doctor or the medical facility where that person received treatment. Examples of medical malpractice that can lead to a car wreck include the following:
- A doctor prescribed medication and failed to warn the driver of the potential side effects.
- A medical facility or medical professional released a patient too soon after undergoing a procedure or some other type of treatment.
- A doctor knew that the driver was allergic to a certain type of medication, yet wrote a prescription anyway.
- A doctor failed to properly diagnose a health issue that could cause the patient to experience a medical emergency while operating a vehicle.
Hire a Minnesota Car Accident Attorney to Represent Your Injury Claim
Regardless of the type of liability claim you file, you’ll need the help of an attorney who is extremely familiar with this area of the law. Your attorney will not only help you build the strongest case possible. They will also know the different types of claims you may be eligible to pursue.
At Sand Law, we will fight passionately on your behalf. Our goal is to help you obtain the maximum amount of compensation for the suffering you’ve been forced to endure. Schedule a free consultation by using our online form or giving us a call at 651-291-7263.