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What Is Car Accident Law?

Car accident law is a combination of traffic and personal injury law. Someone who is injured in an auto accident can hire an attorney who will negotiate with the other drivers to determine who should pay for the damage, and if necessary, the attorney will file a lawsuit.

Car accidents can be terrifying experiences. Often, at least some of the people involved are injured, sometimes severely, and the automobiles that crashed are damaged.

Car accident law refers to the legal rules that determine who is responsible for the personal and property damage resulting from a traffic collision. 

The legal system can help the parties sort out who is at fault for the accident, and which party needs to pay the doctors' and mechanics' bills.

This area of the law consists of the principles of negligence, as applied to this particular category of personal injury cases. Like other cases in which negligence law applies, car accident litigation is governed almost entirely by state law. 


The existence of a duty is typically accepted without much argument. By contrast, the plaintiff will usually be required to offer evidence that the defendant breached that duty.

A breach can be shown by direct evidence, such as eyewitness testimony, traffic surveillance video, or an admission of fault. Or, the plaintiff may need to resort to circumstantial evidence, such as skid marks, paint smudges, or blood alcohol readings. 

Car accident law is a combination of traffic and personal injury law. Someone who is injured in an auto accident can hire an attorney who will negotiate with the other drivers to determine who should pay for the damage, and if necessary, the attorney will file a lawsuit.

The first thing to do after a car accident is to remain silent about who is to blame for the incident. As simple as this may seem, admitting fault is by far the most common mistake potential litigants make in the moments following a crash.

Ordinarily, the rules of evidence do not allow out-of-court statements, But there is an exception for admissions. Even a simple apology can potentially be used against you.

Fortunately, most people do not pay all of the damages stemming from a collision out of pocket. Automobile insurance may pay to repair at least some of the damages or replacement cost for all or some of the vehicles involved and may pay for some medical expenses as well.

Never overlook the importance of seeking immediate medical attention. The whiplash motion caused by car accidents can produce injuries the victim may not notice at first, but that becomes more pronounced as time passes.

As a potential plaintiff in a negligence case, you do not want the other driver’s attorney to belittle the severity of your injuries, based on the fact that you did not feel it necessary to seek treatment right away. 

The laws on who is at fault vary depending on the types of vehicles involved. Most states give more protections to pedestrians and bicyclists, since they are more vulnerable to injuries from a collision.

Similarly, motorcyclists may have greater injuries, but motorcyclists also must follow different traffic rules since they can be faster and more nimble than an automobile.