There are a lot of car accidents in which there are significant questions over who was at fault and what percentage of liability each party shares. There are other accidents, however, where it seems clear that one party is definitely at fault. These are sometimes known as “no doubt” liability claims, and those involved in accidents like these often wonder if it is even necessary to retain an attorney to pursue the claim.
The answer to this question is not a simple “yes” or “no”. First off, auto accident cases are not always as simple and straightforward as they initially appear to be. You might think that the other driver will be found clearly at fault, but later on you might learn that there are other factors that you were not previously aware of.
Secondly, even if this is a true “no doubt” liability claim, it does not mean you are going to have an easy time dealing with the other party’s insurance company. Oftentimes, if an insurance company knows that their client was clearly the one at fault in an accident, they will make an early settlement offer to the injured party in an attempt to get the case off of their books.
The problem is that this offer is usually for far lower than what your case is really worth. You might be tempted to take the quick money, but it is most often in your best interests to wait until you know the full extent of your injuries and have a better idea of the actual losses you have sustained.
The bottom line is that you may or may not need an attorney for a no doubt liability claim, but it is always in your best interests to at least talk with an attorney about your case. Nearly all personal injury lawyers provide free initial consultations, so you have nothing to lose by speaking with a lawyer. After this conversation, you will have a much better understanding of your legal rights and options, which will allow you to make the most informed decision on how you wish to proceed.
Common Examples of No Doubt Liability Cases
Here are some car accident cases in which assigning liability is likely to be more clear-cut:
- DUI Accidents: If one of the drivers was committing a criminal act at the time of the crash, such as driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that exceeds the legal limit of .08%, then they are probably going to be assigned fault for the accident no matter what. However, things might not be as clear-cut if the other driver had some alcohol in their system, but they were not legally drunk. With this type of case, investigators would need to examine other factors to help determine who the at fault driver was.
- Left Turn Accidents: When a vehicle is making a left turn, they are going against the flow of traffic. So, when there is a crash, it is often assumed that the left turn driver is the one at fault because it is their responsibility to wait for traffic to clear before they complete the turn. This is not always true, however. There are also clearly times when the left turn driver is not at fault, such as when they have a green arrow and the driver coming from the other direction runs a red light. So again, specific factors will still need to be looked at to determine liability.
- Rear-End Crashes: When there is a rear-end collision, the driver who strikes the other vehicle from behind is usually thought to be at fault. The reason is that this driver is in the best position to avoid the collision simply by slowing down. But there are exceptions even in this situation. For example, maybe the lead vehicle does not have functional brake lights or taillights, so the trailing driver did not have proper warning that the vehicle in front of them was slowing down. Or maybe the lead driver was sending a text when the collision occurred, which is a legal violation in Pennsylvania and most other states.
How a Lawyer Can Help with a No Doubt Liability Case
As you can see, even in the example cases we have just discussed, there are always exceptions to the “no doubt” liability theory. After a thorough assessment of your case, a lawyer can help you determine if there might be some complicating factors that you were not aware of. If you decide to retain their services, your lawyer will go to work to put together the strongest possible case on your behalf, so that there will be a much smaller chance that some of the blame for the accident will be pinned on you.
Your lawyer will also deal directly with the insurance company for the other side, and they will make sure that you ultimately receive a fair settlement offer. The insurance company could try to undermine your claim by saying that you are exaggerating your injuries, and/or that they are the result of a pre-existing condition. An experienced lawyer will not allow you to be taken advantage of in that way or any other, and if the insurance company refuses to act in good faith, they will be ready to take your case to trial if necessary.
Injured in an Auto Accident in Pennsylvania? Contact Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman for Assistance
If you or someone close to you suffered injury in a car accident, it is always best to speak with an experienced attorney about your case, no matter what the circumstances. If the accident occurred in the Pittsburgh area, contact Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman for a free consultation and case assessment.
Call our office today at 412-567-1232 or toll-free at 866-466-5789 or message us online to speak with a member of our legal team. We look forward to serving you!