One of the first questions people have after a car crash is, "Whose fault was it?" This isn't just a question asked out of curiosity; it is a question that must be answered in order to determine what, if any, remedies are available for injured parties.
Generally speaking, there are a few different types of behaviors that can tell people who was at fault for an accident.
- Reckless driving: This is any dangerous action taken despite the known risks, though a driver may not intend to harm anyone. Speeding, running through traffic lights or drunk driving are all examples of reckless driving.
- Negligence: This involves risks drivers take unknowingly. Being distracted and running a red light or driving too fast because you don't know the speed limit are examples of negligent driving.
- Intentionally bad behavior: This includes any behavior that a driver knows is dangerous and will cause harm. Drivers experiencing "road rage" might try to hurt someone by following them too closely, cutting them off or swerving next to them.
These are among the more common behaviors that cause accidents, and as you can see they are not exactly the same. Based on whether an action is negligent, reckless or intentional, there may be more or fewer damages awarded.
It is also important to note here that not all car crashes are caused by the actions - or inaction - of an individual driver. In some cases, liability falls on carmakers or other parties who may not specifically be at fault for an accident. This is referred to as strict liability. There are also many instances where more than one party may be liable.
Establishing liability can be far more complicated than you expect. However, doing so will be critical in maximizing the compensation paid to victims. Because of this, it is crucial that you consult an attorney if you have been injured in a crash and wish to take legal action.