A car accident is something that nobody wants to experience. They disrupt our routine at minimum, cause sever trauma at a maximum, but in a moment of crisis, it’s rare that we stop and think about the financial repercussions until our insurance possibly takes a hit. Determining who is at fault in a car accident can be nearly as stressful as the accident itself, and at the end of the day, nobody wants to be the reason the accident occurred.
While it may be as possible as answering the simple question of who hit whom, depending on your state, the law can be rather vague when it comes to determining the driver at fault. In most cases, the faulty party can be proven via evidence. Even if the person at fault will not admit to it, the case can be proven via eyewitness accounts and damage to the car. Evidence presented for a person at fault does not necessarily need to be indisputable, and it doesn’t need to be proven beyond reasonable doubt. For instance, if a driver rear-ends another driver, they are at fault. If multiple cars are involved, the driver of the last car in the sequence is the one who will take the ultimate fall, though any cars caught in the middle may have their own share of blame for the accident.
Otherwise, state laws tend to vary when it comes to accidents that occur outside of a rear-end context. Car accidents tend to be contextual, meaning that the time of day, traffic pattern, and lane position all play a part at which driver is at fault. For instance, if a driver is making a left turn and is hit by a car going the opposite way, but straight, it would be necessary to look at traffic lights. If the turning driver made the turn while a green arrow was present, then the straight driver would be at fault. If the light was only green, and the turning driver was given no exclusive indication to go, then they may be at fault for failing to give the straight driver the right of way.
Photographic evidence can assist greatly when it’s time to determine who is the faulty party in a car accident. While emotions tend to run high during accidents and the immediate aftermath, being able to take a picture of the damage of both cars can help figure out not only the extent of the damage, but the type. In addition, be sure to take photographs of the surrounding street and scenery. This could assist law enforcement and insurance companies in deciding which party is at fault.
Of course, sometimes, determining who was at fault in the accident isn’t so tricky. If one driver decides to change lanes without checking their blind spot and hits another, the first driver is rather obviously at fault, and thus will possibly have to face an insurance premium increase. If the driver does not have insurance, that means that they’re probably acting in defiance of their state’s laws. They’ll have to foot the bill for the damages out of pocket, and will more than likely have to deal with any repercussions from law enforcement for violating their traffic laws. In addition, accidents don’t only affect the person who was hit. If the accident is sever, even the person at fault will have to pay for potentially extensive damages on their own car, leading to a depleting savings account and even more panic. In cases such as this, it may be beneficial to speak to a lawyer regarding your options. Even in a financial crisis, we may be able to help you.
If you are in an accident and need assistance determining who is at fault, the most important thing to do is to stay calm. Car accidents are tense situations, and it isn’t advisable to mount that tension. Stay calm as best you can, collect your thoughts, and be sure to respect the other party. This can keep the situation from escalating and allow the two (or more) parties to have an intelligent, productive discussion.