Many cities are still in some sort of lockdown stage, with authorities asking people to limit trips out for essential tasks only. As cities continue to open up or close down as needed, a new factor in accident fault has emerged: the non-essential trip. There's no doubt that with people staying home and limiting the times they go out, the number of car accidents has fallen. But that also introduces the idea that, if you hadn't gone out for a trip that wasn't essential, you could have avoided getting into an accident. Is that really something you have to consider if you've been hurt in a car accident?
Can You Be Partially at Fault if Your Trip Wasn't Essential?
If you had no reason to be out, and you drove around anyway and got into a car accident, one could conceivably argue that you were at least partially responsible for the accident because you shouldn't have been out. But there are a couple of flaws with that argument. One is that it's difficult to tell if you were really out on a nonessential trip. Really, how would the other party know? So many activities are considered essential, from grocery shopping to going to the post office to delivering food to an ailing relative that it's very hard to deem a trip truly non-essential, or truly unnecessary. You could be driving to a beachside boardwalk so you can walk for exercise; that could be seen as essential because it's an allowed activity. So unless it's blatantly obvious that you were driving around for no reason whatsoever, the other party technically would have a very hard time placing blame on you, based on just the fact that there was a lockdown in your city.
And that brings up another problem: With the emphasis on caring for one's mental health, even an "unnecessary" trip out can be necessary. If you're driving around and obeying all traffic laws, in the end, it doesn't matter if you had no real destination. Maybe you had to get out of the house.
The Bad News
As unlikely as it is that someone could blame you for your injuries by claiming you shouldn't have been out in the first place, you shouldn't assume this tactic will never be used. When someone is at risk of being found at fault and responsible for someone's injuries and medical bills, they'll try whatever they can to reduce the penalty. If they think they can shift blame to you, they might try that.
As a result, you need to handle any injury claim with the help of a personal injury attorney. Never go into court without one by your side because, if the other party springs this "you shouldn't have been out" tactic on you, you could be too flustered to properly slap down the attempt. A lawyer can use the precise legal language necessary to tell the judge the other party's reasoning is not sound.Share
30 October 2020
When I started my first small business, I had no idea how much I really didn’t know. I was fully prepared to deal with customers, sell product and even handle complaints and returns. What I wasn’t aware of was that there is so much more to it. I was lacking the legal expertise to protect the company and myself. I wanted others to benefit from my experience, mistakes and lessons learned, so I started this blog. From employment law to the legal business contracts you’ll have to sign when you form partnerships, business law is complex. I hope that the information here will help you to be better prepared when you start your business so that you’ll know when you need to call an attorney and when you can handle things yourself.