According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) someone in the United States is involved in a car accident every 10 seconds. Legal claims arising from motor vehicle accidents are typically governed by the law of negligence. A person who negligently operates a vehicle may be required to pay for any damages, either to a person or property, caused by his or her negligence.
Figuring out who is at fault in a traffic accident is a matter of deciding who was negligent. In many cases, your instincts will tell you that a driver, cyclist or pedestrian acted carelessly, but not what rule or rules that person violated. An attorney will look to a number of sources to help you determine who was at fault for your accident, such as police reports, state traffic laws, and witnesses.
Courts look to a number of factors in determining whether a driver was negligent. Some of these factors include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Disobeying traffic signs or signals
- Failing to signal while turning
- Driving above or below the posted speed limit
- Disregarding weather or traffic conditions
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol