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Every year, roughly 2.35 million people are injured in U.S. car accidents. Many of these collisions lead to personal injury claims and settlement payouts. Since a car accident can be caused by various factors, however, multiple parties may be considered responsible for damages incurred.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you could be held partially or wholly liable for the crash. The driver who hurt you could also be deemed responsible for the car accident if he or she was negligent or reckless. Examples of negligence include running a red light or otherwise failing to obey the rules of the road when a collision occurs. If a driver hit you while swerving to avoid another vehicle, the third motorist could also be part of any legal action taken after the crash.
In the event that a road was poorly designed, the government agency responsible for maintaining it could be named in a personal injury case. Our personal injury attorney can provide advice as to how you may take legal action against a local, state or federal entity. In many cases that involve government agencies, the statute of limitations is shorter. The process of taking legal action might be different as well.
If the driver who caused an accident was operating an employer’s vehicle when the collision occurred, both that driver and the employer could be held liable for any resulting injuries. This could be true if an employee was making a delivery or otherwise performing tasks for the benefit of the company. A company might also be deemed partially or wholly responsible for a crash if it failed to maintain its vehicles or neglected to train its drivers properly.
In some cases, an accident is the result of a vehicle that is defective in some manner. Typically, a person who is hurt in such a collision would file a product defect lawsuit against the manufacturer. This type of case may be easier to win because of the strict liability standard imposed. In other words, the automaker wouldn’t be absolved of responsibility just because it didn’t know about the problem prior to the accident.
Let’s say that your accident was caused because the brakes failed to work as designed. The company that made the brakes could then be taken to court as a defendant in your case. As with an automaker, the manufacturer of a defective vehicle part will also face a strict liability standard.
Depending on the facts of the case, a driver who is said to be at fault for a crash could escape liability if a defective component made it impossible to avoid the collision. It is also possible that a driver could reduce his or her liability if a defective vehicle part contributed to a crash resulting in injuries.
In the event that multiple parties are found liable in a personal injury case, liability will be divided among those parties. Regardless of how many parties are named in a verdict, the total liability will add up to 100 percent. In New Jersey, if a jury finds that one party is liable for 60 percent or more of the damages, you could go after that party for all the damages.
This is what is known as the modified deep pocket law. The term “deep pocket” refers to a person or entity who is among a group that has caused harm to a person and has the greatest ability to pay. However, it is possible that the party that’s most responsible for the accident will decide to settle the case to keep its overall payout to a reasonable level.
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, contact our personal injury attorney at Rebenack Aronow & Mascolo, L.L.P. at your earliest convenience. We can review a case or otherwise inform you about ways to preserve your rights in a car accident or other personal injury case. We’ll handle all the negotiations while you focus on recovering. You can contact us at our office in New Brunswick, NJ, by calling (732) 247-3600. We can also be reached at our office in Somerville, NJ, at (908) 448-2560.
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