At least three common parties other than the driver could be liable for injuries in a car accident. These include employers, manufacturers, and government agencies. The process for holding these different groups accountable following an accident can vary.
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, it is easy to blame the crash on the other driver. In most cases, that approach is reasonable. Many accidents happen due to driver error. However, many crashes occur because of the negligence of another party.
Employers Could Fail to be Accountable for Their Employees
There are two ways in which an employer could face liability for a car accident. The most common example is through a legal doctrine known as “respondeat superior.” Under respondeat superior, employers face responsibility for the negligence of their employees in some cases.
As long as a driver is working within the scope of their employment at the time of the accident, an injured party could pursue a lawsuit against both the driver and their employer.
Whether or not a driver is within the scope of their employment depends on their activities at the time of the crash. A driver that causes an accident while on a personal errand is not acting within the scope of their employment. However, a driver making deliveries as part of their job is.
The Company Vehicle Could Have Needed Maintenance
The second way an employer could be responsible for an accident is if the employer’s negligence plays a direct role in the crash. This could happen in many ways.
For example, an employer could fail to keep their fleet of company cars in safe working order. If the car’s poor condition leads to an accident, the employer could take some of the blame.
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Manufacturers Could Have Sold an Unsafe Product That Ended Up in Your Car
Another party that could face liability in a car accident is the manufacturer of the vehicle or one of its parts. When it comes to collisions that occur through no fault of either driver, manufacturing defects are often to blame. When this happens, you could be entitled to sue the manufacturer of the defective part, the vehicle, or both.
Different defects could result in a devastating collision. Issues with braking systems, headlights, and steering wheels are common. When these accidents happen, an injured motorist could pursue a lawsuit against the manufacturer under a legal theory known as strict liability.
In strict liability cases, the burden of proof is below that of a standard negligence lawsuit. That means the injured motorist does not have to prove the manufacturer was negligent in causing the defect. Instead, you could succeed in your lawsuit by establishing that you used the product as intended and a defect resulted in your injury.
Government Agencies Might Not Have Protected Citizens on the Roads
There are also situations where state, local, or federal government agencies could face liability for your car accident. The government’s role in building and maintaining roads usually has something to do with this. A government agency oversees every stretch of a public road. It is the government’s job to ensure the roads are safe. A failure to do so could lead to a viable injury case.
Faulty road maintenance is often to blame for these cases. The government is responsible for maintaining the roadways, which degrade over time due to use. When the government fails to keep the road in proper condition, accidents can happen. These accidents could result from potholes or loose gravel caused by heady road usage. Other examples could involve missing traffic signs or guardrails.
Poor Road Design Could Have Led to Your Injuries
The government could also face liability if the design of the road itself is dangerous. Important considerations have to be made when designing a road, and any carelessness could result in serious risks. For example, turns could be too sharp, or inclines could be too steep.
Note that the law often treats government agencies differently than other defendants. In most jurisdictions, there are strict time limits that apply to filing suit against the government. Often, the statute of limitations is reduced to a matter of months. You must speak to an attorney right away following an accident that resulted from unsafe road conditions.
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Discuss Your Accident with an Attorney
One of the ways our firm can help is to carefully evaluate every aspect of your case and identify the liable parties. In some situations, multiple individuals or entities could be at fault for your accident. Our auto accident lawyers can work to hold all of them accountable for your injuries.
The team at Loncar Lyon Jenkins could advise you in cases where someone other than the driver is liable for your injuries. Our firm is proud to advocate for those injured in car accidents, and we are ready to fight for the compensation you deserve. To get started, call (800) 777-7777 for your free consultation.