Who to Sue After a Car Accident

Car accidents don’t happen every day, so when they do, most folks have a lot of confusion over what their rights are and what they are supposed to do. Alabama is considered a tort state for car insurance and accidents. That means that one party files a claim on another party’s insurance policy. If the individual with whom you’ve been in an accident doesn’t have car insurance or fled the scene of an accident, you would file a claim on your uninsured/underinsured motorist policy. Below, we’ll go into more depth as to who to sue after a car accident.

Suing a Driver

When you file a claim against another driver’s auto insurance policy, that is very similar to filing a lawsuit against them. The insurance company “indemnifies” their policyholder against liability. In other words, the insurance company accepts liability for the accident and agrees to pay the other driver a certain amount of money.

You can also file a lawsuit directly against the other driver in court. This would only make sense if they didn’t carry auto insurance, carried less auto insurance than was necessary to compensate your damages, or was guilty of some kind of gross negligence. 

A driver who is either filing a lawsuit or a claim on another driver’s insurance policy must be able to prove that driver was negligent and therefore responsible for the accident.

Suing the Vehicle Owner

You can also sue the owner of the vehicle, including a parent, if they allowed someone to drive their car who they should not have trusted. This is known as a negligent entrustment claim and more often than not involves a teenaged driver who was allowed to use their parents’ vehicle. The person filing the claim must show that the owner of the vehicle was negligent in allowing another person to drive it.

Suing the Driver’s Employer

Employers are vicariously liable for anything their employees do while they are on-the-clock. This means that if an employee causes an accident in a company vehicle while executing a task for their job, their employer is responsible regardless of whether or not they acted negligently. 

Cases like these are typically filed against trucking companies or other companies that require drivers. Those injured in such crashes generally file claims against the company’s insurance policy or sue them directly.

If an employer’s negligence contributed to the accident, then you may be able to file a lawsuit directly against the employer. Typical arguments would include negligent hiring or creating a system of incentives that encouraged their drivers to speed, thus making the roads less safe. 

Suing Car Manufacturers

Car manufacturers are responsible whenever a defectively manufactured part contributes to an accident. These lawsuits are filed under a theory of product liability. If, for instance, a tire blowout contributed to an accident, the company that manufactured the tire and perhaps the car manufacturer as well would be responsible for compensating you for your property damage and injuries.

Suing Municipalities and Contractors

If a dangerous road condition contributed to an accident, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the municipality responsible for the upkeep of the roads or the contractors who were hired to do the work. 

Suing Property Owners

If a property owner failed to keep their property in safe condition and this contributed to an accident, you may be able to sue the property owner to recover damages. These lawsuits are filed under a theory of premises liability. The property owner must have been aware of the dangerous condition or they should have been aware of the dangerous condition, and did nothing to correct it.

Talk to an Alabama Traffic Accident Attorney Today

If an accident is not your fault, then you shouldn’t have to pay to repair your vehicle or treat your injuries. Yet most folks don’t know how to sue someone who wrecked your car or even who to sue after a car accident. Thankfully, that’s what attorneys are for. The Birmingham personal injury attorneys at Petro Accident & Injury Attorneys can handle your case for you and file claims against all negligent parties. Talk to us today to schedule a free consultation.