third party caused car accident

Determining Liability When a Third Party Causes a Car Accident

Thousands of car accidents occur in the United States every year. Most of these involve some form of negligence on part of the one of the drivers or a third party. As per a Stanford University analysis, at least 90% of auto accident crashes take place due to human error in some part. Moreover, human error can be of different kinds. It is not always the fault of the other driver.

In addition to driver negligence, there are potential third parties that might be held accountable for a car crash. It is necessary to determine and identify these third parties if you want to hold them responsible for the collision and maximize your financial compensation. An experienced and dedicated Alabama car crash attorney will be able to help you recover your rightful damages in third-party liability cases.

Third Party Liability in Auto Accidents

These are the type of third parties which are usually held responsible in car accidents:


Vehicle passengers can be deemed to be at fault for the crash if they did something that caused the driver to lose control and get into the crash. For instance, a passenger sitting in the front seat, may grab the steering wheel and forcefully turn it one way causing the car to flip or hit another vehicle. Passengers, especially teenagers, are also known to encourage poor driving behavior. Moreover, this is more difficult to prove.

Vehicle Owners

Car owners are typically held responsible for their vehicles. This is regardless of whoever was behind the wheel. You can hold the car owner responsible if they lent their vehicle to someone irresponsible or inexperienced. The owner in this case can be held accountable for negligent entrustment. The car owner can be held responsible even if they lent the car to someone that did not have a valid driver’s license or was driving under the influence.

Liquor Establishments

Alabama and many other states follow the “dram shop” laws. This law prohibits a business or person serving alcohol to serve more alcohol to a person that is clearly intoxicated. The law also allows an injured party to sue the establishment for damages. Dram shop laws are frequently applied in the case of bartenders that continue serving alcohol to someone visibly drunk.

Based on this, the law doesn’t automatically apply to every case of intoxication. You need clear and convincing evidence that the individual behind the wheel that caused the accident was drunk while leaving the establishment. Experienced attorneys generally prove this through witness testimonies and video footage.


Employers allowing their employees to drive company cars and other vehicles are responsible for any accident that may occur while the employee is performing occupational tasks. This rule may apply to an employee that is running a business-related chore in their own vehicle. Furthermore, the task being performed should be within the scope and course of their employment.

Auto Repair Workshops

Mechanical failure causing an auto accident can be the fault of the auto repair shop or mechanic. Negligent maintenance usually occurs when a mechanic fails to identify needed repairs, installs incorrect parts, and causes damage to the car while repairing the vehicle.

Tire or Auto Component Makers

Auto accidents also occur because of faulty vehicle parts, defective vehicle design, or defective tires. For instance, the product manufacturer can be held responsible if the vehicle fails to stop after having new brakes installed. The manufacturer and distributor among other third parties within the supply chain of the auto component can also be held liable if a defect led to your injuries in a car accident.

Holding a Third Party Accountable for the Auto Accident

Holding an outside party liable for the crash can be difficult. Things get even more complicated when the question of liability is between two drivers. Alabama follows the doctrine of pure contributory negligence. An injured party is prevented from recovering damages if they share fault. Your lawyer will examine all relevant factors for determining the cause of the accident.

They will try and link the party to the crash through an unbreakable chain of events. The attorney may use various specialists as expert witnesses to help substantiate the claim. These are usually people that have authority over certain aspects of the case. The role of an expert witness is often invaluable in solidifying the case. They help in maximizing the recovery and damages claimed.

Seeking Compensation in Third Party Car Crash Claims

The compensation received following an accident can differ depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident. You are entitled to more compensation if your injuries were severe. Unfortunately, this usually means that the insurance company brings out the big guns and fights harder to avoid paying a fair settlement. You can seek compensation for the following through a car accident personal injury claim:

  • Current and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Lost future income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Get Reliable Legal Representation from Our Alabama Car Accident Attorneys 

The seasoned auto accident attorneys at Frank M. Wilson have a single goal of helping accident victims obtain their full and fair compensation. We are ready to help you wherever you are in your personal injury claim process. To request your free initial consultation, call us at (334) 420-2931 or fill out this online contact form.


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