Missouri Personal Injury lawyers are frequently asked questions about legal terms used in personal injury claims. One of the most important terms to understand is the concept of "liability," because proving liability is a main factor in winning your case.
Simply put, liability is a synonym for fault. In a personal injury case, liability has to do with who is responsible for your injury, whether it's a person, a group of people, or a company.
In many auto accident cases, it is easy to establish which driver was at fault. However, there are cases when more than one party bears responsibility for the accident. It might be that most of the liability falls on another driver, but it's possible that some also lies with you. Whoever is found to possess the lion's share of liability will usually wind up paying for the accident.
If it cannot be conclusively established who is at fault for the accident, the insurance company might use this problem to offer a lower settlement or even argue against any settlement.
The Connection Between Liability and Negligence
From what Missouri auto accident attorneys have experienced, most motor vehicle accidents do occur because of someone's negligence or carelessness. They can even result from what is called "criminal negligence," which refers to a negligent act that happens while someone is breaking the law, such as driving drunk. The person or company who was negligent bears liability for the accident, and is responsible for paying damages to the person who was injured.