Car Accident Liability: Proving Fault in a Car Crash

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After a car crash, you may feel disoriented, and some of the details from the accident can be a bit hazy. This includes remembering who is at fault for the crash, which you will need to prove. If you are unsure, you must find out to determine who is liable for any injuries and property damage.

It may seem like the process of proving who caused the car accident would be straightforward, but it is not always simple for insurance companies. Collecting supportive evidence while at the scene is crucial in a vehicle crash to prove your innocence.

What Constitutes An At-Fault Accident?

An at-fault accident literally means you (or the other driver) are "at-fault" for causing the accident to happen. This can include your actions, such as speeding or inactions, like failing to stop at a red light.

The other driver (or you) will be liable for property damage and injuries. If you are not at fault, you will want to build a case of your innocence.

To strengthen your case, there are a few items to gather that can help prove who is at fault in a car accident

What to do After a Car Crash

Here is a list of what you should do immediately after you have been in an auto accident:

  1. Seek medical attention if necessary
  2. Collect information from other drivers

Here’s what you should ask for from the other driver if you are involved in a car accident:

  • Legal name
  • Address as it is listed on their driver’s license
  • License numbers (driver’s license and license plate)
  • The make, model, color, and any other identifying features of the other driver’s car
  • Insurance policy number and insurance provider

 

  1. Document the scene with photos and videos (including documenting both property damage, physical evidence, and any injuries.)
  2. Collect information from witnesses and police (or file a police report yourself.)
  3. Contact an accident lawyer and your insurance company.

Having a detailed timeline of the events that transpired as a result of your accident will ultimately help your case.

Sometimes police officers do not show up to an accident, especially if the crash is minor with no resulting injuries. If there are limited resources where the accident took place, you can go to the closest police station to report the accident.

After filing a police report, investigators may select your report to conduct their own inquiry. You can and should obtain copies of these reports once it is submitted.

What Police Reports Contain About Liability

Whether at the scene of the collision or at the station, if a police officer writes a report, it can be used as evidence to prove who is liable for the accident.

Police reports are the recorded recollections of the officer that investigated the accident. They can be one of the most essential pieces of evidence you present to your insurance company.

These reports often contain the following,

  • Officer's opinion about which car was speeding.
  • Officer’s observations of physical evidence like the length of the skid-marks.
  • Officer indicates whether he or she issued any traffic tickets at the scene of an accident.

Some insurance companies will not proceed with providing coverage until they are issued a police report stating who is liable. Thus, you must ensure you receive copies of the police reports. An attorney can assist you through this process.

If, after you have a copy of the reports, you find inaccurate information or errors, you can amend the statement.

Can an Accident Report Be Changed?

Although an original police report cannot be changed, it can be amended to correct information.

For example: If a factual error, such as the wrong model for an automobile involved in an accident, is not right on the report, it needs to be corrected.

Proving Fault in a Car Accident: State Traffic Laws

Another method to use to support your argument of who was at fault for the accident is the use of state traffic laws. This is often called the vehicle code.

These laws are regularly condensed into "Rules of the Road" booklets that can be obtained at your local DMV. Many vehicle codes can also be found online at various state government websites, etc.

Once you locate the law that applies to your collision, you will be in a much better position to negotiate with your insurance company or that of the other driver's.

3 Types of At-Fault Car Crashes

Not every car crash is the same. Different drivers, vehicles, and circumstances cause accidents to happen. But, certain kinds of accidents will almost always be one driver's fault.

These types of crashes are often called “No Doubt” liability accidents because the other driver is at fault 99% of the time. (Unless you are found to be the at-fault driver.)

In either situation, these types of auto collisions tend to make insurance companies not bother with arguing about it, and will most likely attempt to settle immediately.

Here are a few of those types of crashes:

1.    Rear-End Accidents

This is one of the most common types of accidents. When they occur, it is almost always the fault of the person behind you.

2.    Left-Turn Accidents

This is another type of accident that is nearly always the fault of the driver taking the left turn. Vehicles driving straight into an intersection have the right-of-way, not those turning left.

3.    Negligence Accidents

If an accident happens and one of the drivers is intoxicated, it is usually the cause. Negligence also includes texting and driving, falling asleep at the wheel, and drugs in the system.

These are some of the actions and inactions that typically cause collisions, making the negligent driver liable.

If you are not at fault for any collision, but the other driver insists that you are, you need to dispute it. Otherwise, you are liable for costs associated with the crash. You will have to pay medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and more.

How to Dispute Fault in Car Accident

If you have assessed injuries, looked at the evidence, and believe the car accident is not your fault, you must take action.

You can file a personal injury claim with the other driver’s insurance company. If you can prove through the use of evidence, reports, and negligence of the other driver, you can win the claim.

Hence, the significance of taking notes and keeping records of the crash. It can be what determines your innocence.

There is no such thing as the perfect driver. Accidents do happen. You can only help prevent them by ensuring your driving habits follow the rules of the road.

If you do end up in an auto accident, document as much as you can to prove who is at-fault for the accident, this is especially vital if that driver is not you. Contact a personal injury attorney for assistance with your case.

Here at the law offices of Kaufman and Lynd we are devoted to ensuring our clients experience tailored, straightforward assistance throughout their personal injury case. If you or a loved one has recently been injured in an accident in the greater Orlando area, please do not hesitate to reach out to us here.

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Main Office: 200 E. Robinson St. Suite #250, Orlando, Florida 32801. Attorney Jeffrey Kaufman, Licensed in Florida Disclaimer: the purpose of this site is to provide information about legal options, not to provide legal or professional advice. You should not assume that the information on this site applies to your case without consulting with an attorney first. Requesting an initial consultation does not create an attorney client relationship. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be solely based on advertisement.

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