Thankfully, most car accidents are “fender-benders” or relatively minor. Victims may end up battered and bruised, but they’re usually back to work within a few days or weeks.

Not all auto accidents work out that way, however. There are roughly six million car accidents in this country every year, which end up killing about 90 people every day. Another two million people are left with permanent injuries.

For many of those victims or their surviving family members, the typical insurance company settlement after a wreck is not enough to cover their lost income, medical expenses, ongoing care needs and other losses. In many cases, the limits of the other party’s insurance policy don’t go past $100,000 — no matter how serious a crash may be.

This is when attorneys for plaintiffs and their families typically look for additional parties who share liability for the accident — in the hope that those parties may have more resources that can be used to pay a claim for a serious or catastrophic crash. Some of the things that an attorney may consider include

  • Defective guardrails that are badly designed or improperly installed
  • Negligent traffic designs, including poorly placed signs, missing lights, inadequate signals, missing pedestrian crosswalks and other dangerous conditions
  • Well-known issues with the roads or traffic where the accident occurred, including lax enforcement of traffic violations and speeding laws
  • Construction zones that were not properly marked or monitored against the flow of traffic
  • Problems with local vegetation, including trees that obscure safety warnings or traffic signals
  • Defects with the vehicles or their parts that made the accident worse, such as a defective driver’s seat or safety harness

Looking for additional sources of compensation isn’t about “suing everyone in sight.” It’s about shifting the responsibility — and the financial burden — of an accident to the responsible party or parties best able to pay.