Motor Vehicle Accidents: Injured

Injured - The FindLaw Accident, Injury and Tort Law Blog

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Motor Vehicle Accidents are the leading cause of personal injury lawsuits in America. According to the NHTSA, someone in the United States is involved in a car accident every ten seconds. Generally, most lawsuits involving car accidents are brought about using theories of negligence. Sometimes, however, personal injury lawsuits could be brought under the theory of reckless driving, where the driver had a clear disregard for the probability of accident. Other theories under which a motor vehicle lawsuit could be brought are intentional misconduct and even strict liability. Strict liability imposes responsibility regardless of fault, but is usually only ever imposed in cases involving product defects or extra hazardous activities.

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Auto accidents are scary enough on their own, but when you are pregnant and get in a car crash, the level of fright is rather escalated. It is estimated that nearly 300 to 1,000 pregnancies are lost each year as a result of car crashes. While expectant parents are rarely thinking in terms of liability when disaster strikes, if the expectant parent was injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, both the parent and unborn child may have strong legal claims.

Unfortunately, according to a 2014 study, pregnant women are more likely to be involved in a car accident because being pregnant can result in being more easily distracted while behind the wheel for various reasons.

Depending on the state, a person can be held liable for the injury to an unborn child, or for the wrongful death of an unborn child. Regardless, if an unborn child is injured, or dies, the parent’s own injury claim can assert their own damages as a result of the lost pregnancy.

Tech giant Apple is facing another lawsuit that claims they are liable for an auto accident which resulted in a death because the at-fault driver was using their iPhone at the time of the crash. Underlying the claim is the fact that Apple apparently has the technology to prevent drivers from using their iPhones in dangerous ways while driving. This newest lawsuit is also premised upon the same patent used in an earlier lawsuit, which shows that Apple has the technology to detect when a device is being operated by a driver in order to prevent certain features, like texting, from working.

The plaintiffs in the case, the surviving family of the five-year-old child that died as a result of the accident, assert that Apple is at fault because the driver that caused the accident was in the middle of a FaceTime video call when they caused the accident. The plaintiffs’ legal theory, in both new and old cases, is that Apple should be liable because it knew people would use their technology in this dangerous way but didn’t didn’t stop it with a “driver lock-out” feature.

Considering our holiday shopping lists, this might be the busiest time of year for parking lots. And considering the weather, the amount of traffic, and the opportunism of criminals, this might also be when parking lots are at their most dangerous.

Here's a look at the legal liability for parking lots and stores for slip-and-fall injuries, car accidents, and criminal activity:

A cyclist in La Jolla, California, will be receiving a $235,000 settlement after filing a lawsuit over injuries she sustained as a result of hitting a pothole while cycling. This was no ordinary pothole though, as it measured approximately 3 inches deep and 15 inches wide. The cyclist, Cathleen Summerford, injured her head, pelvis and lower back after hitting the pothole and flipping over her handlebars.

One critical fact in this case was that the City and County of San Diego, where La Jolla is located, had been provided with multiple complaints about potholes on the roadway that Ms. Summerford was injured on. As such, because the city had knowledge of the road conditions, a negligence case could be established.

Car Accident Injury Lawsuit FAQ

When an auto accident results in an injury, the injury victim may be able to file a lawsuit depending on how the accident happened. Generally, whoever is at-fault for the car accident will be legally liable to the injured person.

Before a lawsuit is filed, frequently the at-fault party’s insurance carrier may want to try to negotiate a settlement. If settlement negotiations fail, then it may be time to file a lawsuit. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about car accident injury lawsuits.

An Oregon man has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against both the driver that hit him and his father as they crossed the street on foot, as well as the bar that served the driver alcohol on that night. The father was killed after being struck, landing on the roof, then being thrown off the roof a mile down the road. The son survived after medical treatment including surgery.

While the accident was initially hit and run, law enforcement was able to track down the driver. The driver pled guilty and received an eight year sentence. The lawsuit alleges that the driver was negligent in controlling her vehicle and that the bar where she was drinking was negligent in serving her alcohol while she was visibly intoxicated.

Rental car companies make renting a car really easy. You walk in, show someone a driver's license, provide a credit card, sign a couple pieces of paper, and you're ready to drive. With smartphones and apps, it is becoming even easier. However, rental car companies frequently are doing quite a bit behind the scenes to make sure you are who you say you are, and that you are really licensed.

Ordinarily, when a person causes a car accident, they will be held liable for the damages and injuries they cause. In most states, if the owner and driver of the car are different people, the vehicle's owner can also be found liable under a theory of negligent entrustment. Additionally, if a vehicle owner lends or rents a vehicle that has not been properly maintained, they may also be found liable for an accident that results from that improper maintenance.

A recent case out of Los Angeles is making headlines for the $1 million verdict awarded by the jury. The plaintiff in the case was a 65 year old man who suffered from degenerative back problems, and claimed not to be injured at the scene of the accident. The accident was characterized as a low impact crash. While there may be a couple eye-opening facts about this case, the settlement negotiations are the most shocking. Before trial, plaintiff offered to settle for $60,000, and the defense only offered $20,000. While jury verdicts are routinely expected to be larger than settlement offers, this massive of a gap is rare.

Another fact that some might find shocking is that the plaintiff was awarded the large verdict despite having a pre-existing condition before the accident. This is due to the eggshell plaintiff doctrine, which basically says that a defendant is responsible for the damages they cause another person, even if that person is as fragile as an egg. While a defendant may think it is unfair, if the shoe were on the other foot, that thought would likely change. Being extra-susceptible to injury is scary.

As family, friends, and the community mourn in the aftermath of last month’s fatal school bus crash in Tennessee, the parents of victims are beginning to file lawsuits against the bus operator. The school bus struck a mailbox and utility pole, flipped onto its side, then hit a tree. The tragic crash left six young children dead, and numerous other children injured.

As of this week, three lawsuits have been filed against the school bus operator. The lawsuits allege that the bus was not driven safely, and that the resulting injuries are a result of the unsafe operation. The most recent case was filed by the parents of a young girl that suffered a traumatic brain injury which will require life-long care.

When large pile-up accidents occur, figuring out who is to blame can sometimes be impossible. Liability depends on how the accident happened, and for every vehicle involved in the accident, there will be a different account of what happened. Frequently, multi-vehicle accidents require accident reconstruction experts to figure out who is to blame.

Nearly all car accidents are the result of negligence, and most multi-car accidents are the result of multiple instances of negligence. At the end of the day, it may be that multiple individuals are liable for damages, or that no one can be held liable.