If It Isn't Driver Error, Who's At Fault For The Auto Accident?

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Many people are surprised when an accident occurs and drivers do not claim responsibility. It is even more of a "whodunnit" when there is only one driver who is involved in an accident, and they insist that there is nothing they did to cause it. While it is true that some drivers who are to blame may go to great lengths to get out of admitting fault, there are cases where accidents occur and third parties are liable. The following are a few examples of how you may find yourself in this awkward situation. 

Alcohol Servers

Each driver is responsible for exercising good judgment and following drunk driving laws. If a drunk driver causes an accident, they may face criminal and civil charges. The criminal charges will be related to breaking the law, and civil charges might be filed by anyone who was injured, has property loss, or lost a relative as a result of the negligent behavior. It does not necessarily mean that no one else can be held liable. A business establishment that continued to serve alcohol to the drunk driver could also be named in a civil suit. Even if the alcohol was served at a private function such as a wedding, the person in charge of the event could also be held liable and may have to pay compensation to victims and face prosecution. 

Defective Automobiles

There have been many vehicle recalls from multiple manufacturers over the years. Some of these recalls occurred as a result of investigations into car accidents. Evidence from the investigations deemed certain parts as the cause for accidents. For example, defective air bags and tires have both been major contributors to dangerous and deadly car accidents. These malfunctioning vehicle parts are considered as the liability of a third-party, which would be the manufacturer of the vehicle or part that was defective. 

Passenger in Vehicle

It is also possible that a passenger in a vehicle can be determined as the cause of an auto accident. For example, if a passenger was in an argument with the driver and hit them, which caused the driver to lose control of the vehicle, the passenger could be considered as the liable party for the accident. There are other actions that a passenger could do to such as grabbing the steering wheel or turning up the music loud and distracting or startling the driver. 


Property owners can do almost as much on their properties as they want as long as they do not break the law. Having large trees and bushes on a property is not a crime, but if these things contribute to an accident, property owners could be held liable. For example, if bushes overgrow to the point that they impede drivers from being able to see traffic coming down a lane, the landowner could be held liable if a driver pulls out in front of another driver because they could not see past the bushes.

An auto accident attorney is a good resource to use if you believe that someone other than you is responsible for an accident that caused you injuries or property loss. They will be familiar with third-party personal injury laws in your jurisdiction.