How to Prove Fault in a Car Accident

January 13, 2016

After being involved in a car accident it is natural to want to know the cause. Proving fault in a car accident is all about finding out who was acting negligently.

Determining where to place the liability is the first step in seeking compensation for property damage or personal injuries. Insurance companies will want evidence that the driver they cover was at fault before they will pay for things such as medical expenses, so acting fast to discover the truth is in your best interest.

Witnesses at the Scene

One of the best sources of evidence is witness testimony. However, witnesses tend to become unreliable the more time has passed. If possible, try to talk to witnesses and get contact information as soon as possible after the accident.

A police officer may question witnesses at the scene as well in order to get a better idea of the circumstances surrounding the collision.

Police Reports

Police reports are going to be very important, since they are detailed, written accounts of the accident. In it, the officer will likely have written down the most probable cause of the collision as well as information regarding who received a citation. Even if there is no direct mention of what caused the accident, there may be statements implying the other driver had been acting negligently, which can be a big boost to your case.

You can ask your local traffic division for a copy of the police report to use as evidence in your case.

State Traffic Law Violations

Most of the time, the police report will contain mention of any state traffic law violations, but you may still look into it yourself. For example, you may research traffic laws regarding “right-of-way” or “speed limits” and find that the other driver was in violation of one or more traffic laws not mentioned in the police report. Again, this kind of information can be a great advantage when trying to prove the other driver was at fault.

No Doubt Liability

There are some kinds of crashes that almost always end up being the other driver’s fault. In fact, in the examples below, the other driver’s insurance company may not even try to argue.

  • Rear-end collisions are almost always considered to be the fault of the driver who does the rear-ending.
  • Left-turn accidents are almost always considered the fault of the driver who is turning left and hits the car coming straight from the other direction.

Proving fault in a car accident can be complicated in some cases, and insurance companies will often try to trick you into saying the wrong thing, or wording something in a way that shifts blame from their driver back onto you.

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