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The Motor Vehicle Accident Laws You Should Know About


When you’re driving, it’s important to keep your eyes peeled for other drivers, pedestrians, and road hazards. However, it’s also important to keep your mind open to new ideas. Shutting out other points of view can lead to dangerous situations on the road. If you find yourself becoming argumentative or defensive in the car, take a deep breath and pause. You may need to make a quick U-turn to switch topics if the current one has become too heated. However, even the most cautious of drivers can end up in a car accident. When this happens, you must understand your rights and take the correct measures after the crash. If you are involved in an accident on public or private property, you need to know about motor vehicle accident laws. These laws explain how liability is determined after an auto accident so that you can protect yourself from financial implications down the road. Read on for more information about motor vehicle accident laws and how they might impact you if you’re ever involved in such a crash.


Collision vs. Property Damage Only Accidents

In general, an auto accident can be classified as either a collision or property damage-only accident. Collision accidents occur when two or more cars are involved, typically resulting in significant damage to each vehicle. Collision insurance can help protect you and the other driver if you are found to be at fault. It usually covers the cost of repairing your car, medical expenses, and lost wages if someone in the other car was injured. You may also find it helpful to purchase gap coverage if you are leasing your car. 

This protects you from the approximate amount of the car if it is stolen or destroyed in a collision. These types of accidents often result in injuries among drivers and passengers, as well as property damage. Property damage accidents, on the other hand, happen when one vehicle impacts an object or another driver causes damage to your vehicle but does not create a collision. With these types of accidents, the damage is typically limited to your vehicle. It’s important to note that although the distinction between these two types of accidents is important, the damages that each accident can cause can vary greatly.


Contributory Negligence

Contributory negligence is a legal doctrine used in most states when determining who is liable after a car accident. It holds one party liable for the damages if that party was negligent in some way, even if the accident was not their fault. The majority of states in the U.S. follow a comparative negligence rule, which means that if you are found to be even 1% at fault for the accident, you cannot collect damages from the other party. This doctrine also applies to other personal injury cases as well, such as those resulting from defective products, medical malpractice, or slip and fall accidents. The doctrine is used to determine whether an injured party’s negligence contributed to their accident or injuries. In most states, an injured party’s negligence is broken into two components. 

First, there is the percentage of fault attributed to the injured party for their role in the accident. This is also known as comparative negligence. The second component is the percentage of fault attributed to the other party for their role in the accident. This is also known as apportionment of negligence. When determining who is liable after an accident, the court will compare the injured party’s level of fault to the other party’s. If the injured party’s negligence is greater than the other party’s, they will be found at fault and will likely have to pay damages.


First Party Legal Recovery

First-party legal recovery is damage that is awarded to the insurance policyholder in an accident. This can be a financial award, such as money for medical bills or lost wages, or a non-financial award, such as a car repair or replacement. First-party legal recovery is commonly awarded in accident cases when one or more of the parties involved has insurance. First-party legal recovery can be awarded to the insured person or the insurance company, depending on the specifics of the situation. Depending on the state where the accident occurred, the type of accident, and the coverage that was in place, first-party legal recovery can be awarded even if the accident was the fault of the insured party. First-party legal recovery is intended to cover the costs that were incurred as a result of the accident, such as medical expenses, property damage, and other expenses related to the accident.


Diminished Value Claims

If your vehicle was damaged in an accident, you might be able to make a diminished value claim on your insurance policy. A diminished value claim is an adjustment to the value of your car due to the accident. A diminished value claim is usually made when your vehicle is repaired, but there is still a noticeable imperfection. This can be due to the type of damage that was sustained in the accident, the way the car was repaired, or the paint job that was applied at the shop. Diminished value is claimed on your insurance policy because it’s difficult to get fair market value for a car with a noticeable imperfection. An insurance adjuster will determine the diminished value based on the type of damage and repairs made to the car, as well as the condition of the car after repairs are finished.


Duty to Proportionately Defend

The duty to defend proportionately is a legal rule that obligates an insurance company to defend its insured party in a lawsuit. This rule applies to all insurance companies, including car insurance and health insurance companies. Because the insurance company must defend its insured party, it also can pursue a third-party lawsuit against another party involved in the accident. This means that the insurance company can sue another driver who’s responsible for the accident and any damages that were incurred as a result of it. Once the insurance company must defend, the insured party has no right to end the coverage. The insured party can, however, request that the insurance company not pursue a third-party lawsuit. This is not the same as a settlement offer, and you should be careful to avoid settling your claim.



When you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the emotions of the situation. It’s important to take the correct actions after an accident so that you can protect yourself in the future. Remember, collision accidents often result in significant damages, while property damage accidents tend to result in minor damages. These distinctions can make a big difference in the outcome of your case. 

Additionally, the duty to proportionately defend obligates the insurance company to defend the insured party in a lawsuit. However, the duty not to over-provide makes it so that the company does not provide more financial assistance to the plaintiff than is required to reasonably settle the case. As a result, the insurer must determine the reasonableness of a settlement offer, the amount of a settlement offer, the facts and circumstances of a case, and the costs of litigation when deciding whether or not to settle a case. It does not obligate the insurance company to settle the case for the amount the insured party requests.

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