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Quick Law Group, PLLC

Establishing Liability in Car Accidents

Car accidents change lives and cause catastrophic injuries. Recovering compensation requires proving fault, which means establishing liability in car accidents is a key component to every case. In Washington, car accident victims not only need to establish liability but also the proportion of fault if it is shared between multiple drivers. Quick Law Group, PLLC, has been helping clients involved in motor vehicle accidents in this area for over a decade. In Kirkland, WA, personal injury attorneys Liz Quick and Matt Quick aggressively pursue every remedy victims need to fully recover.

Woman taking picture of car accident on smart phone
Simple measures, like taking photos at the scene of the accident, can help to establish who is at fault.

Why is Determining Liability Essential in Car Accident Cases?

Proving fault in any type of motor vehicle accident is critical to making a claim for reimbursement. The culpable driver (or drivers) is responsible for repayment of damages, but will not provide compensation unless a determination of liability is first made. In order to establish liability, a victim must prove:

Duty

Drivers owe one another the duty of safe driving while on the road. This includes driving within the speed limit, obeying all traffic signals, and devoting full time and attention to driving. When a driver fails to do these things, the duty of care required to safely operate a vehicle is breached. It is this breach of duty that gives rise to liability for any injuries and property damage which occurred.

Causation

Once a duty has been established and evidence provided to support that duty has been breached, the injuries suffered must be traced back to that duty and breach thereof. If a breach of the duty to drive safely is not the direct cause of an injury, the victim may not have a case.

Damage

The damage component of a car accident case relates to the victim demonstrating how they were hurt, and what it will take to fully reimburse them for their injuries. This typically involves presenting evidence of medical needs and costs, and the expenses required to provide any ongoing medical care or treatment.

Holding Multiple Parties Accountable

In the State of Washington, the fault for a car accident can lie with one or more drivers. This is referred to as comparative negligence, and this legal theory allows a victim to recover from multiple drivers, up to the percentage of fault assigned to each.

Car accidents change lives and cause catastrophic injuries. Recovering compensation requires proving fault, which means establishing liability in car accidents is a key component to every case.

This may be the case when more than two vehicles were involved, but it is also possible for an accident to fall under this concept when only two cars are involved. It is not uncommon for an insurance company to deny a claim and allege the hurt party contributed to the accident and thus should be held liable for a portion of the damages. In order to overcome this hurdle, evidence is needed to show the victim bears no responsibility for the accident. This can be done through eyewitness testimony and other key pieces of evidence, such as a police report. 

Importance of Filing a Police Report

Alerting the police is one of the most important steps to take after a car accident. The officer arriving on the scene first is in the best position to document how the accident happened. In the moments after an accident the vehicles usually remain in the positions they were forced into by the collision, and these positions tell a story trained police officers are able to read about causation. The police report will contain the officer’s final account of how the accident took place, who was at fault, and the severity of damage done. Moreover, a police report is written by an unbiased individual, which lends more credibility to the data than does an account of the accident by one of the parties. 

Contact Our Office for More Information

If you have been in a car accident, we can walk you through what to do and common mistakes to avoid. Our attorneys work tirelessly to identify each piece of evidence that is needed when developing your case and making a demand for reimbursement. To schedule an initial office consultation, contact us online or call us at (425) 576-8150.

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Kirkland Office

520 Kirkland Way
Ste 400
Kirkland, WA 98033

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