third-party caused car accident

Determining Liability When a Third Party Causes a Car Accident

Millions of car accidents take place in the United States every year. Most of these crashes or collisions result from some type of negligence of one of the drivers, but sometimes third parties may also be liable for the victim’s injuries.

Pursuing injury claims against third parties is often more difficult and complicated as compared to regular car accidents. This makes it vital to work with a skilled car accident attorney that has an understanding of such cases and the proven ability to make sure all accountable parties are held liable for your damages.

Third Parties Responsible for California Car Accidents


Employers can be held liable for a car accident if an employee driving the company vehicle results in a crash. Pertaining to this, the employee should have been performing job-related duties.

The liability may extend to include an employee that is using their personal vehicle for work-related duties. The employee should also be acting within the scope and course of their employment.

There have been cases where the company claims the responsible driver is not an employee but an independent contractor. You should know that you still have a claim in such cases. In fact, situations, where employees are intentionally misclassified, are usual in the trucking industry. Lines between employees and independent contractors are often blurred in these situations.

Rideshare Companies

Uber, Lyft, and other ridesharing companies frequently maintain that their drivers are not employees, but independent contractors. The majority of states have now agreed with this classification making it difficult for a personal injury victim to obtain compensation. In relation to this, this should not stop you from filing a claim against the rideshare company’s insurance policy.

For instance, Uber maintains $1 million of liability coverage for accidents that occur while transporting a passenger. The coverage is reduced when the driver has their app turned on but is not transporting a passenger in the vehicle. Having an experienced and hard-working car accident attorney by your side can be helpful in obtaining the compensation you deserve.

The insurance coverage of the rideshare driver will cover damages up to the policy limit if they already have a passenger or are on their way to pick up a passenger. The rideshare driver’s own insurance policy will apply if the damages exceed the policy limit. Lyft and Uber carry $1,000,000 in coverage above a contracted driver’s policy limits to cover any accident claims.

This coverage is available to victims of rideshare accidents to cover both economic and non-economic components.

Car Repair/Maintenance Providers

There are instances in which the accident happens due to faulty brakes or other avoidable circumstances. The vehicle repair shop can be potentially held responsible for the accident if they did a shoddy job and the car malfunctioned. Moreover, you will need strong evidence to prove the car accident was because the repair or maintenance shop did not perform as promised.

Product Manufacturers

The manufacturer, distributor, and other related parties within the supply chain of the faulty product can be held liable for the accident if a manufacturing or design defect results in a car accident. Brake failures, tire blowouts, and computer malfunctions are a few examples of product defects that can cause an accident.

Car Owners

It’s not necessary that the person driving the car is also the car owner. The car owner can be held responsible for the accident if they entrust their vehicle to someone that is intoxicated, inexperienced, or known to be an unfit or dangerous driver.

The car owner may be found to be responsible under the theory of “negligent entrustment.” Liability may extend to parents, grandparents, and guardians that entrust the vehicle to a minor in their care.

Liquor Providers/ Establishments

Californian courts have held that liquor stores, bars, and other similar establishments may be held responsible for a car accident that is caused by someone that became physically incapacitated by drinking at their establishment. You would need to establish that the person was visibly intoxicated when the establishment was still serving them. Eyewitness testimony and video footage are usually helpful in proving such claims.

Claiming Compensation from At-Fault Third Parties in Car Accidents

It’s a unique and complicated process to bring a claim against third parties in car accidents. Injured parties require experienced attorneys for handling their cases. You may need to bring your personal injury claim within two different judicial systems depending on the third party involves. This can be the Industrial Commission and the state or federal court for example.

Different laws and regulations may be invoked for guiding the standards of care and negligence depending on the third parties involved. You may require unique discovery tools in such claims, like FOIA requests. The negligent driver and negligent third party may be held responsible since California follows the doctrine of joint and several liabilities.

Every party that is found to be negligent of the accident is responsible for the full amount of the victim’s damages under this doctrine. It may be complicated to resolve your claim and obtain the maximum settlement. You would need to employ a proper strategy for attaining a favorable resolution if there is more than one negligent party.

The smallest mistake in paperwork can negatively affect or even prevent you from recovering your damages. This is where an experienced and established law firm can be invaluable.

Legal Help is Here from Top-Rated Car Accident Attorneys

The skilled personal injury attorneys at Garmo & Garmo, LLP have the required knowledge, experience, and resources to ensure that all responsible third-party entities are held liable for your damages. This will ensure that you receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to. Schedule your free case review with our lawyers today. Call us at 619-897-2144 or contact us online.