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Limited Tort Vs. Complete Tort In Injury Situations

Except in states that have no-fault insurance, you can recover damages only from a person who has caused an accident through negligence (carelessness). Negligence means that failure to use the ordinary care that could be expected of a reasonable person. Violation of the traffic laws is evidence of negligence, but a driver may be negligent without violating any law.

Who may recover?

In some states, the injured person may not recover damages if he has also been guilty of negligence, even in the slightest degree. This called contributory negligence. Other states follow a rule of comparative negligence. The injured party can recover, but the amount he gets will be reduced in proportion to the extent he was at fault for the accident. A jury, for example, might find that the injured party was 20 percent responsible, and reduce his damages by that percentage.

Owner’s Liability

The driver is liable for his negligence. Under traditional law, the owner of the vehicle was liable only if the driver was his employee or was acting on the owner’s behalf. In some states, it was presumed that any member of the owner’s family was acting on his behalf (family purpose rule). Many states now hold the owner responsible whenever the car is being driven with his consent.

Uninsured Motorist Laws

Many states have passed laws and established funds to pay persons injured by stolen cars, cars that do not carry insurance and hit-and-run drivers who cannot be identified.

Who can sue?

In most states, one spouse cannot sue the other for negligence, nor can a minor child to sue if the parent does not have custody. Some states have “guest statutes” that ban a guest in an automobile from suing the owner. The guest can, of course, sue the driver of the other car.


Most states require car owners to carry liability insurance to cover any claims arising from auto accidents. Other types of insurance, such as fire, theft, or collision, are not required. You can buy them or not, as you chose.

Aiming for legal discussion will aid you in understanding personal injury cases better.

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