Recovering Compensation from Someone Other than the At-Fault Motorist
When you have been injured in a car accident or other motor vehicle crash, the first place you typically look is to the driver whose act ions caused the collision. Sometimes, though, the at-fault driver may not have the required insurance or other resources to adequately compensate you for all your losses. Though it may seem surprising, you are not limited to filing suit against the other driver—you may successfully recover compensation from other third parties, provided you can prove the elements of negligence
What You Must Show to Prove Negligence
To meet the legal test for negligence, you must demonstrate to a judge and jury that:
- The defendant did not act as a reasonable person would under the circumstances—All persons in society are held to a certain "standard" or "duty" of care, typically described as that of an "ordinarily prudent" person. To recover any damages, you must first show that the defendant’s actions failed to rise to that level.
- The "breach" of the duty of care caused the accident—You must show that the accident would not have occurred, but for the failure of the defendant to act as a reasonable person. In addition, you must show that the injury sustained and the losses suffered were "reasonably foreseeable" as a consequence of the failure to act reasonably.
- You suffered actual loss because of the accident—If all your injuries were covered by insurance, or if the property damaged had little or no value, you will not be able to recover compensation
Types of Third Party Liability for Motor Vehicle Accidents
Third party liability for a motor vehicle accident may be found in a number of situations:
- Where the accident is caused by an impaired driver—The person or entity providing the alcohol or other substances may have acted negligently
- Where the accident is caused by a person during the course of his or her employment—An employer may be liable for the carelessness of an employee under certain circumstances
- Where the accident is caused by someone who is borrowing a vehicle—The vehicle owner might be potentially responsible. Typically, though, there will only be liability if the owner knew or should reasonably have known of the risk posed by the borrower.
- Where the accident stems from a roadway defect
- Where the accident is caused by a dangerous or defective product
Contact Our Office
At Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie, Seelaus & Kraft LLP, we offer experienced and knowledgeable legal counsel to individuals in Pennsylvania. To set up an appointment for a free initial consultation, call us at 610-565-4055 or 302-594-4535 or contact us online.
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