How to Determine Who is at Fault After a Car Accident
Many incorrectly assume that the police determine who is at fault for causing an auto accident. Police determine if there were any traffic laws violated, such as driving at excessive speed. A law enforcement officer may make notes on an accident report and give their opinion as evidence. However, the police department does not usually make an official declaration of who is at fault for causing an accident.
The fault for causing an accident is determined by insurance companies or by a lawsuit.
What evidence helps determine fault?
The police report is just a part of the evidence. Auto accidents may be complex and involve more than two vehicles. Everyone involved may provide relevant information from their perspective about what occurred through sworn statements. Collecting sworn statements from bystanders who witnessed the accident may be possible.
Additionally, if video is available, a review of video footage of the accident is subjected to analysis.
If a mechanical failure is suspected, a professional may conduct a thorough inspection of a vehicle and make a written report of any findings. Information about the location(s) and the extent of damages to the involved vehicles is part of the evidence.
Documentation of damage includes photos and other evidence. A report about the weather conditions is also evidence. The parties may consult experts to get their opinions. All of these things help determine fault.
What happens if there is a dispute about the cause of an accident?
Disputes about fault are common and may be intense. If injuries are involved in an accident that you experience, immediately seek the help of a personal injury attorney.
If there is a dispute about the fault for the accident’s cause, you need to have representation by an attorney. In many accidents, the drivers involved share fault. Many factors may be considered and weighed for their importance to make a percentage allocation of fault between the involved parties.
Suppose the fault is equal between the parties. In that case, each party’s insurance company may agree to cover the insured portion of the damages for the party they insure and pay an equal portion of any damages caused to any third party.
Your attorney will handle dispute negotiations with the representatives from the insurance companies involved. Your attorney will assemble the evidence to share it with the insurance company’s adjuster and attorney, along with a demand letter for a settlement when warranted.
If the dispute cannot reach a satisfactory resolution, your attorney will file a lawsuit on your behalf. The lawsuit will seek adjudication of the fault for causing the accident and request the court to make an award for damages by a judge or jury trial. However, going to trial is expensive and takes a very long time. The award judgment from a trial is appealable. An appeal extends the time for the case to resolve.
Most personal injury cases settle before going to trial. Some cases settle “out of court’ while a trial is imminent or in progress.
Your attorney will keep you advised every step of the way and discuss how the case should proceed. You can feel free to, honestly and openly, share everything you know about the accident with your attorney under confidentiality. What you share is protected by attorney/client privilege.
Always keep any original documents for your case and only give copies of the documents to your attorney.
Tips for those involved in an accident with injuries:
- Do not say “I’m sorry” about what happened to anyone. Saying this may be used against you to indicate that you thought you caused the accident, even if you did not.
- Do not discuss the accident with anyone except your attorney.
- Immediately after an accident with injuries, call an attorney at 877-776-9558.
In conclusion, if you or a loved one has been in an accident, make sure to contact a trusted and experienced attorney. Our network of attorneys have years of experience dealing with accidents and personal injuries. Furthermore, they will negotiate with insurance companies to get you the medical help you need, cover expenses of your damaged vehicle, and get you the compensation you deserve. CALL US ANYTIME (877)776-9558 or fill out a consultation form here to start the process.