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How is fault determined in car accidents?

For most of us, driving is a necessary part of life. We need to drive to get to work, to pick up our kids after school, to go on family vacations and get to other important destinations such as work or the store.. As such, driving is a necessary evil, meaning that there are inherent risks with driving. Driving, as we all learned in driver’s education classes, is a privileged activity that can be dangerous and even deadly in some cases. Drivers in Pennsylvania understand that the likelihood that an individual will be involved in a car accident during your driving lifetime is a very real possibility. There are various degrees of accidents that range from the serious in nature to the not so serious, such as a fender bender. Most times it is easier to find fault in the more serious car crashes, especially when it was clearly caused by a negligent driver.

When a car accident happens, the first thing that people think is who was at fault or who is liable for the accident. It is a common understanding that fault will dictate who pays for the losses and damages caused. Although this may still be the case in a number of smaller scale accidents, this is not necessarily the determining factor anymore with respect to resolving car collisions based on fault.

In common law, fault could be defined under strict liability, negligence, reckless conduct or intentional misconduct. Based on the requirements of the category being utilized, certain elements would have to be met to satisfy a fault claim in a car accident case.

There has been a move however from the common law fault-based claims in car accidents to looking at these cases under motor vehicle violations as defined by state law. Each state can legally mandate how a person is to operate their vehicle on the roadways. Statutory violations include but are not limited to wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle or wearing a seatbelt. The idea behind the statutory regulations is that if a car accident occurs and a regulation has been violated, fault in the accident may be shared between the person that actually caused the accident as well as the person that failed to obey the motor vehicle statutes.

Following a car crash, it is important to conduct investigation in order to establish cause and assign liability. Victims of a car crash should understand what legal remedies are available to them and what the process is if they decide to file a civil action for compensation. This will ensure their rights and interests and preserved and protected.