The common misconception shared by individuals throughout Ontario Province who have sustained injuries in a motor vehicle accident is that there is always a single party responsible for causing it. Nothing could be further from the truth. Granted, personal injury cases typically hinge on proving who is responsible for causing an accident. Unfortunately, in many cases, it may be a matter of determining “shared blame” in the accident and more than one person is found to be responsible. However, only a personal injury lawyer will be able to ensure that justice is delivered.
Defining Fault in a Personal Injury Case
It’s important to understand that the term “fault” has an exceptionally broad meaning in personal injury cases. According to Duhaime’s Law Dictionary, fault is defined as:
“A breach of duty or negligence and, in some circumstances, the
errors or omissions of others or of things under a person’s control.”
In personal injury or tort law, it is one of the more essential legal terms and means that someone is guilty of causing harm to another person, usually through negligence. The person responsible may be ordered to compensate the injury victim for all economic and non-economic losses resulting from their injuries.
Can multiple Parties be deemed at Fault?
Sometimes, more than one party involved in the accident may be found at fault. In other words, you could be found at fault along with the other party if the court finds that you were both negligent. In addition to the at-fault drivers, there could be other parties found to be at fault in the accident including:
- Contractors whose construction project made the road unsafe
- Municipality where the accident occurred and it was due to improperly maintained road conditions
- Passengers who influenced the driver’s decision making
- Pedestrians involved in the accident
A good example of how liability was allocated among multiple parties occurred in an Ontario Provincial court in 2011. A motorist that was speeding through a construction zone and lost control of the vehicle, and went off the road when the pavement ended and transitioned into gravel. Sadly, the motorist died after striking a telephone pole. The motorist’s family members wound up suing the municipality for unsafe road conditions and not posting sufficient warning regarding the upcoming changes in the surface.
In addition to the municipality, they also sued the contractor for creating the unsafe transition from pavement to gravel. However, the judge’s decision in the case proved to be rather interesting as well. Not only did he concur that the municipality was negligent in that they breached their duty to the general public because they kept the road open to vehicular traffic during the construction project. But the judge also ruled that, although the contractor’s construction company did post warning signs, they were insufficient as far as offering protection was concerned.
It was also ruled that the signs provided inadequate warnings regarding the unsafe condition of the roadway. Furthermore, because the contractor failed to provide a safer driving environment for motorists, they were also found liable for that. The judge’s ruling was based on the contractor’s failure to create a safer transition for motorists when contractually obligated to do so. Finally, the driver was found at fault for speeding through a construction zone.
In the final ruling, the judge allocated 25% of the liability to the contractor, 25% to the municipality, and 50% to the motorist for operating their vehicle at an unsafe speed as they drove through a construction zone. The bottom line is that you could be held partially responsible if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident and the judge can assign a percentage of liability accordingly. So before you assume that someone else will be found completely responsible, you should talk to a personal injury lawyer. You might need to consult the best lawyer in the city to ensure that you are represented properly and gain the compensation amount that you deserve for your injuries. You can schedule an appointment to discuss the merits of your case with the lawyer. Most of the injury lawyers work on contingency basis whereby you only pay when you get the compensation. Check here for more information.