Who All Can Be Held Liable for a Car Crash?

an orange reflective road triangle in front of two crashed vehicles

Holding Someone Accountable for Car Accident Injuries

When you’ve become injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by another individual, you deserve to seek justice. However, holding someone responsible for the damages they've caused might not be such a clear-cut issue in every case. In several instances, one or more parties may be found at fault for the incident depending on the variables present at the time of the crash. Here are some of the parties who may be found liable.

The Driver

Unsurprisingly, the person driving the vehicle that caused the crash is most often found at fault. Regardless of whether there’s inclement weather, a bad traffic jam, they weren’t paying attention, or any other myriad of reasons, drivers have a responsibility to ensure that they are being safe.

However, there may be a few cases where another party is held responsible for the actions of the driver. While these are fairly uncommon, it’s important to recognize that there may be extenuating circumstances that affect liability.

Vehicle Owner

In instances where the vehicle owner is not the person driving at the time of the crash, both the driver and owner may be held responsible under Louisiana's negligent entrustment doctrine. This most often applies in cases where a company vehicle, rental car, or teen driver is involved.

Under negligent entrustment, you would have to prove that the vehicle owner expressly or implicitly gave the driver permission to use the vehicle and otherwise knew that this person was not a fit driver. This may be due to a previous driving record (deeming them “incompetent”) or because of a disability.

Anti-Dram Shop and Social Host Liability Laws

Another circumstance that may warrant someone other than the driver being held responsible for their actions would be under Louisiana's anti-dram shop and social host liability laws. These state that a bartender or other alcohol provider who sells/gives alcohol to a minor may be held responsible if they were to be involved in a motor vehicle accident.

This is different from other states’ dram shop laws in that they cannot be held responsible for a lawful-age intoxicated person they serve who commits a crime off the premises.

Mechanic or Vehicle Manufacturer

Upwards of 10% of motor vehicle accidents may be attributed to some form of mechanical or maintenance issue. While many of these may be the responsibility of the driver who failed to properly maintain their vehicle, there could be a situation in which the vehicle manufacturer or maintenance provider is the one that should be held liable.

Vehicle manufacturers must issue safety recalls for defective parts and notify vehicle/parts owners of them within 60 days of the decision to do so, per National Highway Traffic Safety Administration guidelines. Brake failures, transmission failures, tire blowouts, or even vehicle fires can often be directly related to some kind of manufacturer issue. Failing to recall a defective part or not notifying the vehicle owner of these issues can be a huge liability for the company, and they should be held responsible.

On the other hand, a mechanic or other service provider could be found at-fault for the crash if it’s found that they overlooked a defective part or provided inadequate service. Likewise, not properly inspecting a vehicle or failing to document that there was an issue may be traced back to the service provider.

New Orleans Personal Injury Attorneys

If you’ve been injured due to another person’s negligence, know that you have a right to pursue legal action against them. By working with an experienced personal injury attorney, you can ensure that you are getting the best chance to maximum compensation and obtain the justice you deserve. Schedule a free consultation with the team at The Chopin Law Firm LLC by calling (504) 475-2429.

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