According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, more than 2 million Americans suffer from car accidents each year. If you have recently been in an auto accident, you may want to file a lawsuit. The most difficult part of filing a suit is determining fault. Although you may think it easy, it can sometimes be difficult—as the fault doesn't always land on the driver.
In some cases, the fault may fall on someone else in the car—or even someone who wasn't in the vehicle. Although this may sound surprising, it is quite common. Some situations where this might happen include:
- Employees: An employee driving a business vehicle may not responsible due to "secondhand liability." This law means that one person may have caused the accident, while the other gets the blame. Why does this happen? The law states that employers hold the liability when their employees are using business-related vehicles for work purposes. For example, a business owner will be responsible for an employee driving a company car and slamming into another driver after running a stop sign.
- Borrowed Car: In some situations, the owner of the driver may actually be the one at fault. Again, it falls under liability; and because the owner let someone else drive, they may be responsible for their actions while in the vehicle. The owner of the vehicle can also be sued if the driver who borrowed their vehicle is intoxicated or unlicensed.
- Teenage Drivers: If a teenage driver gets into an auto accident while driving their parents' car, the parents may be to blame. There are various reasons for this, including negligence. The parents may also be to blame if the teenager driving only has a permit, which requires a parent signature.
- Unfit Drivers: As briefly mentioned earlier, lending a vehicle to someone who is incompetent or unfit may result in the original owner being held accountable. This is because the owner is being negligent by allowing an unfit driver to use their vehicle—regardless of the owner being in the vehicle at the time of the accident.
An unfit driver is classified as someone who is intoxicated, unlicensed, underage, elderly, or sick.
Getting Help: Determining Fault
If you have been in an auto accident and you believe someone else is at fault, you should contact an auto accident attorney. Determining fault is a difficult and time-consuming task, so you shouldn't do it alone. If it turns out that someone else is at fault, it can be difficult to prove; which is why a lawyer is recommended, especially for these tricky situations.
Talk to a law office like Kuzyk Law for help determining who is at fault in your accident.