Who is accountable for my losses?
Assessing the legal accountability for an injury or an accident – usually considered as liability – is quite a complicated task. However, a good aspect of it is that it mostly relies on the fact whether someone was negligent or careless. While it is easy to claim compensation from the person whose negligent attitude led to the accident and subsequent injuries to you, it is necessary to determine and prove who is at fault.
Determining Legal Accountability
Needless to say that a bulk of injury-causing accidents occur due to someone else’s carelessness or negligence. The general rule says that in an incident involving two persons, the one who was less negligent than the other should pay for at least a part of the losses sustained by the latter who was comparatively more careful.
For nearly every accident case, legal liability is assessed with this common rule of negligence along with one or more of the following hypotheses:
- If the sufferer was at a location where they shouldn’t ideally be, or at a place where they should have predicted the type of activity that caused the incident, the person causing the accident may not be held legally accountable because they didn’t owe any ‘duty of care’ toward the victim.
- If the sufferer too was careless, their recompense might be reduced by the degree of the negligence that eventually led to the incident. It is called comparative negligence.
- If a careless person is responsible for the accident albeit while working for some other person, the latter can also be held legally accountable for the incident.
- If an incident has occurred on a property that was already risky due to poor maintenance or build quality, the property’s caretaker and owner can be held liable for being careless in taking good care of the premises, irrespective of the owner’s direct involvement in creating a dangerous condition.
- If an accident is the result of a faulty product, both the seller and the producer of the product can be held liable even if the victim doesn’t know who was careless in allowing for the defect, or what precisely led to the defect.
When Fault is Not of Just One Party
When there are multiple persons responsible for an incident – for instance, two or more drivers’ carelessness caused a multi-car crash – any one of all the careless drivers could be held responsible for recompensing you completely for your damage in most US states. The responsible parties can further decide among themselves which one should recompense the others.
Effect of Your Carelessness on Your Claim
Despite your negligence and partial responsibility in allowing an incident to occur, you will still be entitled to obtain at least some reimbursement from the other party that was partially responsible for the accident. The amount to be paid as compensation is assessed by comparing your negligence with that of the other person.