It can be difficult to tell who is at fault after a car accident. Both parties will try to minimize their responsibility for the crash, but both parties usually share some portion of liability. The key to getting compensation for your injuries is understanding how fault is legally determined by courts and by insurance companies.
Proving Fault in a Rhode Island Injury Case
Most legal claims involve proving how one party was wronged by another. As a result, there is a set legal standard for determining liability. As fault directly impacts who can be awarded damages and how much payment a victim receives, all evidence in a car accident case should be geared toward proving these four factors:
- The defendant owed a duty of care. In car accident cases, every driver is assumed to owe all other drivers a duty of care. Thus, a driver should act as any reasonable driver would, given the situation.
- The defendant breached the duty of care. There are many different ways a driver can fail to uphold the duty of care. Common breaches of duty include driving while drunk or distracted, failing to check mirrors before merging, or running a red light.
- The breach directly caused the victim’s losses. In order to recover payment for your losses, you must be able to show a clear connection between your injuries (or property damages) and the breach of duty.
- The victim suffered actual harm. A victim has the right to recover any expenses incurred as a direct result of the crash. This includes the cost of medical bills, lost wages, and loss of future earnings. The recovery may also include compensation for pain and suffering and reduced quality of life.
Once you have proven liability for the accident, the amount of your compensation is determined by state law. Rhode Island negligence laws are based on a system of pure comparative fault, meaning your damages are reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 but are found to be 25% at fault for the crash, you will only receive $75,000 in damages.
If you have been injured in an accident, we can help. Contact Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum via our online contact form to schedule an initial consultation at no cost to you.