The notion of “fault” is not always clear in a Kentucky motor vehicle accident. Nevertheless, law enforcement officers will seek to lay blame for a car crash on one of the parties involved. In addition to drivers, potential at-fault parties could be vehicle manufacturing companies that build defective parts, municipalities that fail to keep a road safe, or businesses that employed the at-fault drivers.
Common law identifies four primary levels of fault that could apply to any given motor vehicle crash: negligence, recklessness, intentional misconduct and strict liability. This article will discuss each of these levels of fault.
Levels of fault in a car crash
— Negligence: Negligence refers to an act that unintentionally results in damage or harm. For example, perhaps a driver hit you because he or she failed to yield the right of way to you. Or maybe a driver ran through a red light by accident because he or she wasn’t paying attention. The principal element in determining negligence is whether the person failed to act in a way that a reasonable person would have, given the circumstances, to prevent harm to others.
— Reckless or wanton conduct: Reckless or wanton conduct is a higher level of fault because it involves the reckless indifference to others’ welfare and safety. For example, maybe someone hit you because he or she was drag racing a friend through traffic. This person didn’t want to hurt you, but his or her indifference to your safety resulted in the crash.
— Intentional misconduct: Intentional misconduct refers to the intentional lack of respect for others’ safety. For example, maybe someone hit you because he or she ran through a red light on purpose, simply due to impatience. Or, maybe someone broke the law by intentionally driving drunk and ended up hurting someone in a crash.
— Strict liability: Strict liability relates to defective products that a manufacturer committed negligence in creating. It could also refer to the responsibility of an employer for an employee’s actions. In these cases, the strictly liable party was probably not at or near the accident when it occurred.
Get help determining fault in your car accident claim
Police do not always get it right when determining fault in a car accident. If you suspect that you suffered injury in a car crash, due to no fault of your own, a Kentucky personal injury attorney can evaluate your potential claim for damages to determine who was likely at fault, and who is liable to pay you financial damages relating to your injuries.