Being involved in a car accident is a serious matter. Proving fault in the accident requires figuring out who acted negligently. In many cases, it is clear who was at fault. Often, it is the other driver, a pedestrian, or a cyclist that cause the collision. Frequently, common sense will tell you who is at fault. Sometimes, the other driver will admit fault, which makes a personal injury case much easier. However, understanding who is at fault, and the specific driving laws that were violated, can help your case. When negotiating with the insurance company, and filing a case for a personal injury matter, you will need this information. Here are three steps to help you determine who is at fault in a car accident.
1. “No-Doubt” Liability
In a no-doubt liability accident, it is easy to conclude who is responsible. The insurance company will not argue fault in these cases. The most common no-doubt liability accident is a rear-end collision. If you have been hit from behind, it would be extremely rare that you would be held responsible. Each vehicle is required to keep a certain distance from the vehicle in front of them. Following too close behind, and not stopping safely, is what causes many accidents.
Even if the car that hit you makes a claim on someone who caused you to stop abruptly, they still are required to pay your damages. Investigators will look at the location of damage on the vehicles. This is proof of a rear-end collision. If the back of one car and the front of the other is damaged, then it is safe to say a rear-end collision occurred. In some cases, you may be held partially responsible for a rear-end collision. This will reduce your overall compensation. Things like a broken light or having mechanical problems can be taken into consideration.
Another “no-fault” collision is a left-turn accident. If you are going straight down a road and a car makes a left-hand turn, they will be deemed at fault. Just like in a rear-end collision, the damage on the vehicle is the key to identifying the fault. Here, the damage would be on the front-end of one car and the front-right side of the other. There are some exceptions to the “no-fault” provision for left-hand turns. For instance, if the car going straight was going over the speed limit and ran a red light, then you would be at fault.
2. The Police Report
It is imperative to call the police and make a report of any accident. Sometimes, during in climate weather, officers will ask you to exchange information and make a report later. In the cases, you need to take pictures and get witness statements if you can. Through pictures, the officer will be able to clearly see who is at fault by the position of the cars and the damage. The officer may state their opinion about what happened, but the damages will back up their claims. The report should state the traffic law violated and if careless driving was involved. Writing these things on a report is a good way to prove you’re not at fault for the collision.
3. Research The Laws
Some cases are not always black and white. There may be some local statutes that could apply to your case. A book of driving statutes is kept at most public libraries. Be sure to look at things like roadway markings, speed limits, and right of way. The Department of Motor Vehicles should also have a listing of these rules for you to view. Any findings will only support your negotiations for a personal injury claim.
By using these three principles list above, you can easily prove fault in a case. Depending on the insurance company you are up against, you may need to provide more or less proof. It is imperative to have a personal injury attorney helping during this process. Their vast knowledge of accidents and the laws that govern them is advantageous to your case. When you have been injured in an accident, the law limits how long you have to file a claim. Call today for immediate assistance.