Most accidents happen as a result of carelessness by somebody. The general rule of thumb is that if one person involved in an accident was less careful or more careless than the other, that person must pay for the damages suffered by the one who was being careful. Legal liability for accidents is basically determined under that simple idea, and by one or more of the following propositions:
- If the plaintiff was in a place where he or she was not supposed to be, or somewhere that the type of activity which caused the accident should be expected, then the person who caused the accident may not be liable, as there was no duty of care towards the plaintiff, who is in the wrong place.
- If the injured person was also careless, their compensation will be reduced by the same percentage as the portion of the injured party’s fault for the accident which gave rise to the injuries.
- If a negligent person causes an accident while working for someone else, the employer may also be legally responsible.
- If an accident happens on dangerous property, either because it is poorly built or poorly maintained, the owner of the property is liable for being careless in maintaining the property. It does not matter if that person actually created the dangerous condition; there is a duty to either fix it or warn about it if it is known by the owner.
- Accidents involving product liability give rise to claims against both the product manufacturer and the retailer, whether or not the plaintiff can establish exactly how the defect occurred.