Auto Accidents Newsletters
The frequency of occurrence of vehicular accidents and various kinds of mechanical breakdowns that cause the disablement of cars and trucks on the streets and roads of the United States necessarily results in an extensive use of tow trucks to assist in the resolution of such situations and the removal of affected vehicles from the scenes of such accidents and breakdowns. The operations of tow trucks, and the variety of risks involved in their use, create a number of unique concerns in the area of motor vehicle insurance.
When a person, who is injured in an automobile accident, needs an attorney to file a lawsuit against those who caused the person’s injuries, the attorney’s fees could prevent the injured person from proceeding. Most injured persons cannot afford to pay an attorney’s hourly fee to bring a lawsuit to recover damages that could include medical expenses, lost wages, pain, future medical needs, and other expenses. To make litigation affordable for an injured person, attorneys in automobile accident cases do not charge an hourly rate or a fixed amount for legal fees. Instead, the attorney and injured person agree that the attorney’s fee will be determined by the amount of the settlement awarded to the client. This is called a contingency fee arrangement.
A mention of the topic of auto insurance generally brings to mind the myriad policies that cover the individual owners and drivers and individual cars and trucks that operate every day on the streets and highways of the United States. In many cases, though, fleets of greater or lesser numbers of vehicles owned by a single entity and operated by many different individuals are sent out on the roads in order to carry out the business of their owners. The existence of such fleets creates unique issues in the area of motor vehicle insurance.
Most automobile insurance policies have a clause that requires an insured to cooperate with the insurance company. The cooperation clause, also known as the cooperation and assistance provision, requires an insured to act in a manner that does not obstruct an insurance company’s handling of a claim against an insurance policy. Further, the cooperation clause seeks to stop insureds and claimants from acting together against insurance companies. To breach the cooperation clause, an insured’s obstructive conduct must be willful and must prejudice the insurance company.
In an automobile accident action against a driver for damages suffered in a car collision, the driver’s violation of a traffic law can be evidence of his or her negligence. The law calls negligence based upon the violation of a specific requirement of law "negligence per se." Negligence per se means that as a matter of law negligence existed. While the violation of a traffic law is negligence as a matter of law, the violation does not mean that the driver is liable unless the negligence was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injury. Negligence is ordinarily a question for a jury. It only becomes a question of law when a court determines that only one conclusion can reasonably be drawn from the evidence. If the violation of the traffic law is treated as negligence per se, the question of negligence will not be given to the jury.