Answered by Christopher Combs in Personal Injury on April 01, 2021.

In a personal injury lawsuit, the party who is liable for your injuries depends upon the type of accident you suffered and the circumstances surrounding the occurrence. Liability is occasionally a difficult concept to establish, though, which is why in most St. Louis personal injury lawsuits proving liability is arguably the most important step when deciding how to proceed.

Legal liability means that an individual or other entity (such as a business) is responsible for an action that resulted in injury to yourself or damage to your property. In turn, they must assume the costs of any damages resulting from an accident.

The law dictates that we each have a duty to act in a manner that will not harm anyone else. If someone fails in this responsibility and an injury occurs, then the negligent party is said to be liable> for the injury.

Determining Liability

In determining liability, it’s important to know the four elements of liability:

  • A person/entity had a duty to others
  • That person/entity failed to perform this duty
  • Another person (such as yourself) suffered an injury, property damage, or loss as a result of the failure to perform the duty
  • The person/entity who failed in their duty is liable for the consequences, including paying damages

An admission of responsibility by the negligent person/entity will be sufficient to establish liability, but this is not always the case in every situation. You may need a personal injury lawyer in St. Louis, MO, to help you to not only determine who is liable but also prove why they are the liable party and, therefore, should pay damages. For example, a jury may be involved to hear the evidence presented by all parties to a case before liability can be assigned.

When More than One Person is Liable For Your Injuries

When there is more than one liable party, you may be able to pursue personal injury claims against any or all of them in a lawsuit. This is useful in traumatic injury cases in which significant damage has been done. In these cases, naming more than one party will increase the settlement amount(s) you receive, which lowers the financial burden you are experiencing.

Accidents are complex and there could be any number of factors and parties at play. For example, you may have been involved in a car accident on a construction site with another driver because of improper signage. You may be able to pursue a claim against the other driver’s insurance—but what if the other driver’s policy is not enough to cover all of your expenses? You may also bring a claim against the city for failing to provide safe detours or to post adequate warning signs to help ease your financial burden. Speak with a car accident lawyer in St. Louis, MO to learn more about your options for pursuing multiple claims.

Liability Based on Accident Type

Product liability, premises liability and all manner of personal injury cases can be very complicated because there are often multiple parties at play. Potentially liable parties in your accident might include one or more of the following:

Car, motorcycle, ATV, pedestrian, and other auto accidents

  • The negligent driver
  • The negligent driver’s employer
  • The vehicle owner who lent the vehicle to someone when they shouldn’t have (negligent entrustment)
  • The manufacturer (cases where an auto defect causes a crash, such as brake failure, etc.)
  • A repair shop (cases where they failed to properly perform a repair)
  • The rental car company
  • Government entity that maintains the roadway

Semitruck and other types of large commercial vehicle truck accidents

  • The truck driver
  • The trucking company
  • Owner of the truck
  • Parties responsible for loading the truck
  • Parties responsible for maintaining and repairing the truck
  • Freight shipper
  • Truck parts manufacturer
  • The truck’s leasing company
  • Manufacturer of the truck
  • Truck maintenance company
  • Broker who hired the trucking company to deliver a load
  • The driver of another motor vehicle
  • Government entity that maintains the roadway

Construction zone accidents

  • Construction company
  • Road crew or one negligent member of the road crew
  • Construction site owner
  • General and sub-general contractors
  • Manufacturers of construction machinery or equipment
  • Architects and engineers
  • Another negligent driver

School bus, public transit, tour, and charter bus accidents

  • The bus driver
  • The city government in which the bus operates
  • The school district in which the bus operates
  • Bus contracting company
  • Major bus companies (Amtrak, Coach, Greyhound, etc.)
  • Bus parts manufacturer
  • Bus maintenance company
  • The driver of another motor vehicle
  • Government entity that maintains the roadway

Product liability accidents

  • Product manufacturer
  • Parts supplier
  • Product distributor
  • Product wholesaler
  • Retailer who sold you the product

Premises liability accidents

  • Property owners
  • Business that rents the property
  • Private residence owners
  • Government entity that has involvement in running the property

Contact Combs Waterkotte | Personal Injury Lawyer in St. Louis, MO.

It is critical to get an experienced St. Louis personal injury lawyer to help with your claim as soon as possible. We can help determine the cause of the accident and who should be held liable, but only after scheduling a free, one-on-one consultation and learning more about the facts of your case. To schedule that consultation, call the experienced St. Louis personal injury lawyers at Combs Waterkotte today at (314) 900-HELP, or you can contact us online.


Personal Injury