Aside from the legal issue of damages, there are two very common legal issues that frequently cause delays in litigation of an auto accident case. Those two issues are liability and causation. That is, who is responsible for the injuries and did that guilty party’s conduct actually cause your injuries. These issues can often be complicated and the facts are not always black and white. In fact, some accidents aren’t caused by another driver. If you have questions about your potential claims, ask our Joplin auto accident lawyer.
Proving a theory of liability
The simple fact that the other person was driving the car that hit yours, doesn’t automatically make that person at-fault for the resulting auto accident. In some situations, the other driver will try to shift some, if not all, of the blame on you. For example, there are defenses known as contributory negligence of assumption of risk, which may create a real issue of liability in your case. If those defenses are raised, the resolution of your case may be further delayed. It is important to have as much evidence as you can to support your theory of liability, including witness testimony, if possible.
Proving causation of injuries
You might assume that if your neck and back are hurting immediately after an auto accident, that is evidence enough that your injuries were caused by the other driver. That is not always the case, however. If the at-fault driver can establish that any aspect of your injury was pre-existing, then proving your injuries will become very problematic. Sometimes, there are even questions as to how serious your injuries truly are. In some auto accident cases, experts are required to prove that a particular accident would actually lead to the type of injuries you claim to have sustained.
Accidents can be caused by something other than another driver
Despite the fact that most auto accidents are caused by a negligent driver, there are many other causes of accidents that are just as common. Poor road conditions and weather conditions are frequent causes of auto accidents. Examples of dangerous road conditions include potholes, uneven expansion joints, and debris on the roadway. A deep hole in the middle of a roadway can cause serious auto accidents, especially on interstates. Motorcycles are more likely to lose control from hitting a pothole than a car.
Expansion joints usually connect a highway to a bridge. When the two parts are joined it can expose a rough surface and this unevenness can be dangerous. Much like a pothole. Similarly, when a road has uneven lanes of different heights, it can be dangerous when a vehicle changes lanes.
Debris or animals on the roadway
Depending on the size of debris that is left on the roadway, it can cause a very dangerous situation for drivers. For instance, the debris left from blown out tires, especially from 18-wheelers, can cause damage to a vehicle or even cause the driver hitting the debris to lose control. The same is true for the debris left from a collision or objects that may fall off of other vehicles, such as trucks carrying items. As our Joplin auto accident lawyer can explain, state and local governments are liable for maintaining roadways that are free from obstacles. If they fail to do so and an accident occurs then the government can be held liable.
Possible recovery following a car accident
The primary goal of any lawsuit is to be compensated monetarily for the injuries you sustain because of someone else’s actions. As any car accident attorney will tell you, the purpose of the lawsuit following a car accident is to make the at-fault driver to compensate you for your injuries and losses resulting from the accident. The amount and type of recovery to which you may be entitled depend on many factors. In the legal arena, what you may recover is referred to as “damages.”
Economic versus non-economic damages
Economic damages are the actual financial losses that you suffer as a result of a car accident. This would include medical expenses for treatment of the injuries you suffered, lost income from missing work while recovering, the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle, and other losses. This type of damages is the easiest to prove in court because you need only submit documentation to establish these expenses.
If you have questions regarding car accidents or any other personal injury matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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