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3 ways drivers open themselves up to civil liability for a wreck

On Behalf of | Mar 3, 2022 | Personal Injury

Most car crashes result in straightforward insurance claims, but some of them lead to litigation. When one person suffers serious losses in a crash, they sometimes have the right to file a civil claim against the driver at fault for the wreck. They can seek financial compensation for their losses from the crash, ranging from the damage to their vehicle to lost wages if they can’t work.

There are usually three different ways that a driver may open themselves up to a civil lawsuit because of a car crash.

They don’t carry insurance or have enough coverage

Your motor vehicle insurance policy protects you from liability. If you cause a wreck, the other person can make a claim against your coverage to repair their vehicle or pay their medical bills.

State law requires that you carry insurance, and failing to do so could lead to a liability claim. Any amount that insurance should have paid could instead be your responsibility because you didn’t have insurance.

They knowingly violate traffic laws

Not every crash meets the criteria for a personal injury claim, especially if the driver at fault has at least a basic insurance policy.

However, when the driver who caused the wreck did something that was a clear violation of traffic laws prior to the collision, the other party can use that wrongful act as justification for a civil lawsuit. Texting while driving or getting behind the wheel after drinking are both examples of illegal driving behaviors that could lead to personal injury lawsuits.

Their driving was clearly negligent

Reckless behavior at the wheel doesn’t just endanger the person driving the wrong way on a one-way street. It also puts anyone else they encounter at risk. Negligence at the wheel can open someone up to liability as surely as illegal conduct can.

To prove negligence, a plaintiff would need to establish that a reasonable person would see the behavior or decision as unnecessarily risky. Even actions that don’t technically violate the law may constitute negligent behavior if they obviously increase someone’s risk of causing a motor vehicle collision.

Knowing what leads to personal injury claims after car crashes could reduce your risks of a lawsuit or understand when you have the right to take action against another driver.