As with so many other areas of law, car accidents can be complex, involving many possible defendants. Some car accident lawsuits may appear to be clear cut: a person runs a red light and causes an accident, so the fault lies with that driver, it would seem. But, what if the driver had a high blood alcohol level? Then, it is possible that the establishment (or establishments) that served him the alcohol could be held liable.
What if the driver who caused the accident was a minor? Are his parents in some way liable for the accident? What if the driver failed to stop because of problems with his brakes? Then the company that made the car, the company that made the brakes and the company responsible for vehicle maintenance (if work was recently done on the brakes) could all potentially become defendants.
Furthermore, what if there was a problem with the traffic signal itself? Then, the city responsible for those traffic lights could be held liable. What if the person driving the car was not the owner of the car? Could the owner be held partially responsible?
What if the person that hits you is a police officer on his way to a crime scene? A couple in South Carolina has filed a lawsuit alleging they were hit at a traffic light by a police officer who had his flashing lights on but no siren. The plaintiffs have filed the suit against the city, the police chief and the patrolman involved in the lawsuit.
Each of the above-mentioned issues has been dealt with at some point in car accident litigation. Each of these scenarios is entirely possible and they make determining responsibility in a car accident absolutely crucial. Even something as seemingly simple as a red light being run can become complex when all factors are taken into consideration.
Now, add to that the complexity of injuries sustained in the car accident. Even a person who walks away from an accident at first could find herself dealing with pain years after the accident. She may wind up with high medical bills, medications and years of physical therapy to recover. There could also be traumatic brain injuries that are not detected at first—and this is just for someone who felt okay at the scene of the accident. People who are hospitalized may face surgeries, paralysis and other permanent injuries.
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However, that said, even if a year has gone by since your car accident, it is not too late to contact an attorney who can advise you of your rights and determine whether or not you have a valid legal claim.
Although nothing can ever take away the agony caused by a car accident, at least something can help to cover the extra expenses you now face due to your injuries.