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How to Determine Liability After a Florida Car Crash

Experts In This Article

Unfortunately, car crashes are all too common, and the statistics do not show any sign of them slowing down. The most unfortunate aspect of common car crashes is that many are highly preventable, and they only happen because someone makes a poor decision or mistake.

When a driver is reckless and engaging in risky behavior, such as speeding, they put themselves, other drivers, vehicle occupants, pedestrians, and cyclists in harm’s way. Such preventable accidents can be deadly and life-threatening—changing the lives of those involved forever. In some of the worst cases, victims face loss of limbs, permanent disabilities, death, or the loss of loved ones.

When someone else causes serious injuries to you, that party should be liable for the economic and non-economic losses you incur. To collect compensation, you need to prove liability as part of your car accident claim.

After a car accident, seek legal representation sooner than later. An experienced car accident attorney will be by your side to help you hold liable parties responsible for their negligent conduct.

Negligence of Other Parties

How to Determine Liability After a Florida Car CrashSpecifically, an attorney will know how to prove the various elements of negligence, which include a duty of care, breach of that duty, causation or cause-in-fact (the party caused your damages), and damages.

Car accidents often occur because of another driver’s negligence.

Examples of some of the most common acts of negligence on the road in include drivers that:

  • Run a red light
  • Run a stop sign
  • Drive on the wrong side of the road or wrong direction of traffic
  • Improperly passing a car
  • Improperly turn
  • Fail to yield or stop
  • Speed and drive erratically
  • Disregard traffic flow, road markings, and traffic signs
  • Text or get otherwise distracted
  • Alcohol or drugs impaired

You will need to show that the driver breached safety standards or violated traffic laws to cause your accident. Then, you need to show the accident was the cause of your injuries and losses.


Identify Liable Parties

If you have suffered injuries in a car crash, one of the first things a skilled attorney will do on your behalf is formulating the best strategy to ensure you get compensation. Ideally, you want to receive payment that makes you whole, as though the accident never occurred. While you cannot take your injuries away, financial support can help you move forward and achieve justice.

This involves determining which party or parties can be liable for your injuries, as they and their insurance companies are the ones who will pay you. Liability can be more complex than it seems, as the drivers at the scene of the accident are not the only parties you can file claims against.

The following parties might share liability for a crash:

Vehicle Manufacturers

A car manufacturer might be partly responsible if they sold a defective automobile part that contributed to the crash. This may seem uncommon, but it happens!

Take, for example, faulty brakes that fail and prevent a driver from stopping. An airbag might deploy while driving in the absence of a collision – then causing a collision. A rollover accident might cause more severe injuries due to a roof defect. Manufacturing an unsafe part constitutes grounds for a products liability cause of action against the manufacturer and retailer.


One important determination is whether the driver who hit you was on the job at the time of the crash. The law holds employers vicariously liable for injuries their employees cause due to negligence. If a driver was working – including making deliveries or traveling between job sites – the company might also be liable for your losses.

If a rideshare driver caused the crash, liability can be complicated. If the driver had a passenger or was on their way to pick up a fare, the rideshare company’s insurance should apply to your injuries. If the driver had not accepted an active ride at the time, the driver’s insurance will be the only policy available in many cases.

To ensure that you are not missing any necessary parties, your attorney will thoroughly understand and research the facts of the case, including the vehicles involved and whether the others can potentially be liable. Identifying all liable parties is critical, as additional parties in your claim can increase the available insurance coverage.

For instance, a driver might have $50,000 in liability insurance, but your medical bills alone are $80,000. If you can file a claim against their employer or a manufacturer, they might have much higher insurance policy limits. This allows you to recover total compensation for your losses.

Evidence of Liability

You might not know where to start when determining liability for your crash. You might know the other driver hit you, but how do you know who else might be liable? The best thing to do is contact a car accident attorney immediately.

A lawyer can review all possible evidence of liability.

Evidence might include:

  • Witness statements
  • Employment records and time cards
  • The vehicles involved, including whether the driver was in a work vehicle or a rideshare car
  • Vehicle inspections
  • Video evidence

Investigating liability is part of a car accident lawyer’s job, so leave this determination to a legal professional.

Common Injuries and Losses

You need to determine liability for your accident mainly because injuries can be serious and costly.

Some examples of common injuries you may experience following a car crash include:

  • Whiplash
  • Torn ligaments
  • Fractures
  • Broken bones
  • Connective tissue damage
  • Sprains and strains
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Internal injuries
  • Scars
  • Disfigurement
  • Amputation
  • Burns

Where you sat in the vehicle when the impact occurred can determine the seriousness of your injury. Whether it was a rear-end, head-on collision, T-bone, or rollover accident also matters—the type of collision combined with where you were sitting can make an injury more severe.

The severity of the crash can cause you to need more intensive medical procedure(s) and treatment. For example, you may need a surgical procedure, durable medical equipment such as a wheelchair or neck or body brace, ongoing and continuous physical therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic treatment.

You may have to frequently engage in activities that improve your health, such as swimming or rehabilitative exercises. Alternatively, you may have to discontinue certain activities that exacerbate your injuries, such as running, cycling, and weightlifting.

In the worst of cases, the crash can cause life-threatening injuries or turn fatal at the crash site or soon after. If someone is on life support at the hospital for days following the accident or has experienced traumatic brain injury and is in a coma, their critical state can take an unfortunate turn at any time.

Whether you suffered a soft tissue injury or a life-altering spinal injury, you deserve to have all of your losses covered by liable parties.

Financial Losses

Medical bills can pile up quickly following an accident. Further, injuries from a car accident can often take you out of work. This can be a hard hit to your finances.

Your attorney can help you to seek compensation for all your medical bills and loss in income – both since the accident and into the future. Additionally, you can claim damage to your property and receive compensation for the cost of repair or replacement.

Intangible Losses

Intangible losses are often referred to as pain and suffering. Pain and suffering does not stem from bills or receipts, so it can be difficult to prove. However, a skilled and experienced attorney with a track record in car accident law knows how to best demonstrate the existence of your physical, emotional, mental, and financial injuries. Additionally, they know how to compute and assign a value to your losses.

Injuries extend beyond the physical. Specifically, you may endure emotional and mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety. Another often overlooked loss is experiencing a decline in your quality of life. Quality of life can be diminished after a serious car accident when you cannot engage in the hobbies and activities that you once enjoyed prior to the accident.

An experienced car accident attorney will collect the most effective documentation to prove your injuries. If you speak to a therapist for emotional and mental health issues you have as a result of the accident, obtaining these progress notes with your consent will be helpful.

Additionally, if you maintain journal entries describing your mental and emotional state following the accident, these records will be helpful. Even if you don’t believe you have any helpful proof, your attorney will help you strategize evidence to gather that can prove your case.

Speak to a Car Accident Attorney

If you have suffered damages, always speak to your personal injury attorney about them, even the injuries that are not tangible or visible. Be sure to speak up, ask questions, and share all of the information your attorney needs to help you get back to the position you were in before the accident occurred.

Having a compassionate and dedicated car accident attorney by your side can make all of the difference in your case.

Some ways they can be beneficial to you and your case include:

  • Your attorney will determine all of the potential parties that can be accountable for your injuries, maximizing your chances of obtaining just and fair compensation.
  • They will work zealously to build a strong case against the parties that demonstrates fault for your injuries.
  • Regarding evidence, your attorney will help you organize and sort out the proper documentation to support your claim. Additionally, your attorney will obtain evidence that is not easily available to help to prove your damages and hold parties liable, such as surveillance footage, black box data, witness statements, and social media videos of the incident.
  • When you are uncertain about what to do next, your attorney can help you to understand your best course of action and legal options, including insurance claims and litigation.
  • To obtain just and fair compensation, your attorney will consider all of your injuries and accurately calculate your damages.
  • Your attorney will prioritize your needs and preferences, such as pursuing litigation or accepting a settlement.
  • If you need to litigate the issue, your attorney will timely file a cause of action, utilizing their familiarity with the statute of limitations period in your state and options if you have missed this due to a delayed injury or delayed diagnosis.
  • If you opt to settle the matter, your attorney will draw on their negotiation skills to obtain a fair settlement in your favor.

You can play a key role in providing your car accident attorney with essential information.

For your first meeting with your attorney, if possible:

  • Gather photos and videos of the accident scene, including vehicles, damage to property, and location of the accident scene.
  • Present the information of the parties involved, including their contact information, license plate, insurance information, and any witness information.
  • Track the accident report, which can be retrieved through the Florida DMV website.
  • Bring medical bills and records if you have them.

Contact a Car Accident Today

Michael T. Gibson
Michael T. Gibson, Car Accident Attorney

Don’t delay. Get your case started today!

If you have been in a car accident, you should speak with a knowledgeable and skilled car accident attorney to discuss the specific details of the incident and your injuries.

While you focus on healing from your injuries, a car accident attorney will help you navigate the complex legal process and work tirelessly on your behalf so that you can obtain deserved just compensation.

Consultations are free, and a personal injury attorney should review what happened and advise you whether someone else can be liable. Be sure to come prepared by gathering relevant documents for this initial meeting. Additionally, make the most of this time by asking questions about legal fees, methods of communication, and expectations about the legal process.

Get started today, so you can focus on recovering from your damages while your attorney advocates on your behalf.

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