Who decides whether someone is liable because of negligence?
After being presented evidence by the lawyers, a judge or jury will decide what an "ordinary" or "reasonable person" would have done in similar circumstances. In the example of an automobile accident, a judge or jury is likely to find a driver negligent if his or her conduct departed from what an ordinary reasonable person would have done in similar circumstances. An example would be failing to stop at a stoplight or stop sign.
What’s an example of negligence in a car accident?
A driver has a duty to use reasonable care to avoid injuring anyone he or she meets on the road. If a driver fails to use reasonable care and as a result of that failure injures you, then the driver is responsible (liable) to you for those injuries.
If someone causes an accident and I am hurt, on what basis will that person be responsible (liable)?
A person is liable if he or she was negligent in causing the accident. Persons who act negligently never set out (intend) to cause a result like an injury to another person. Rather, their liability stems from careless or thoughtless conduct or a failure to act when a reasonable person would have acted. Conduct becomes "negligent" when it falls below a legally recognized standard of taking reasonable care under the circumstances to protect others from harm.
I was in a car accident, but I think I can prove it was not completely my fault. Will this make a difference with regard to what damages ultimately are awarded?
In the past the rule was that if you could prove the other driver contributed in any way to the accident, he or she could be totally barred from recovering anything from you. But now most states have rejected such harsh results and instead look at the comparative fault of the drivers. If a jury finds that you were negligent and that your negligence, proportionally, contributed 25 percent to cause the injury and that the defendant was 75 percent at fault, the defendant would only be responsible for 75 percent of your damages, or $75,000 if your damages totaled $100,000. In some states, a plaintiff may recover even if he or she were more negligent than the defendant, that is, negligent in the amount of 51 percent or more.
I was injured when my automobile collided with a truck driven by a delivery person. Can I recover damages from the driver or the employer?
You may be able to recover from both. You probably can recover from the deliveryperson’s employer because under the law employers may be held liable to third persons for acts committed by employees within the scope of their job. Although the employer was not negligent, it becomes indirectly liable for the negligence of its employee. Was the employee making a delivery when the accident occurred? If so, the employer is liable, since deliveries clearly is part of the driver's job. But if the employee first stopped at a restaurant for drinks and dinner with friends, the employer may be able to escape liability.