When someone hits your car, anxiety sets in. Even if no one is hurt, you freeze and all of the possible scenarios – what to do, what to say and where to go – collide at once. While some drivers may be easy to deal with, others may go to extreme lengths to assert that you were the at-fault driver. This can add to an already stressful situation.
In that case, you may be the party tasked with proving your innocence against the other driver and the insurance companies. If you find yourself in this situation, contact an experienced car accident attorney immediately. Instant communication can help salvage your case by collecting the appropriate time-sensitive evidence, avoiding common insurance claim mistakes and easing uncertainties by knowing the case is in the hands of a hardworking car accident lawyer.
Ways to Determine Car Accident Fault
There are typically three offenses to determine the liable driver.
Car accident negligence denotes a failure to fulfill a driver’s expected duty of care. To prove this type of liability, you must establish the duty of care, the breach of that duty, and the causation and damages.
Every driver has a duty to operate a vehicle in a way that will not injure others. Should that breach of duty result in damages, then that driver is negligent.
Examples of negligence could include making sudden lane changes without a signal, texting while driving, and speeding. Ultimately, the standard duty of care is guided by any action or inaction that a “reasonable” driver would make in the same or similar circumstances.
Reckless driving is essentially negligence on a more severe scale. The definition indicates the driving shows irreverence or indifference for other motorists, pedestrians, and property. Although the difference between negligence and recklessness can be difficult to determine, some offenses may be considered inherently reckless.
These offenses often include:
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Speeding a certain mph over the speed limit
- Street racing
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Driving past a stopped school bus with its lights flashing
These types of violations are either done knowingly or with a disregard for others’ safety, making them reckless.
Broke a Traffic Rule
For situations that do not constitute negligence or reckless driving, breaking a traffic rule is a good indication of fault. Anything from simple mistakes, like failing to yield to more serious offenses like driving the opposite direction on a one-way street, could fall under this category.
What Evidence Can I Record in a Car Accident Investigation?
To help determine who caused a car accident, it is important to conduct a thorough crash scene investigation. However, for those in a car crash, that may be the last thing on their minds. This stress makes it crucial for those involved in an accident to immediately contact a car accident attorney.
“The crash scene has the potential to change within hours, or even minutes, depending on the weather” said Ted Kaplun. “Contacting a hardworking car accident attorney can help you collect critical evidence that goes above and beyond what may be in the police report.”
Ted Kaplunlists the following as key pieces of evidence.
Write Down Contact Information
The world may spin faster immediately after a car accident. To keep your presence of mind and to maintain control over the situation, analyze the crash scene. See if there are any pedestrians or nearby motorists who saw the accident. If so, record their contact information. You can improve your case by including a third-party witness to affirm your side of the story.
Photograph Roadway Markers, Signs, and Rules of the Road
Other pieces of evidence you and your reliable car accident lawyer should record are the rules of the road near the crash site. Note the facts of the case and how markers like lane stripes, yield signs, stop signs, and general roadway rules could have played a role in the accident.
Recording these important details can better explain who is at fault for the car accident and support your case.
Photograph Collision Impact and Roadway Marks
Go above and beyond the regular police and accident reports by taking as many pictures as possible. Pictures of interest include the collision damage, roadway skid marks and tread marks, especially those that are time-sensitive (like snow tracks).
Take pictures from various angles, distances, and with different lighting to better capture the nooks and crannies of impact. It is always better to have too many photos to choose from than to have too little evidence.
Being able to relate the point of impact, tire skids, and other visual evidence to the aforementioned rules of the road can help bolster a case.
Request the Public Police Report
Although this is not something you or your lawyer will record, it is always helpful to obtain a copy of the police report. This report is public domain and something that can help you understand the strength of your case.
Check to see if there are any discrepancies between the report and the facts, and figure out ways for your other evidence to strengthen your case. Consider how any errors in the police report may have happened and to what extent you can prove your side through independent investigation.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
A car accident can be scary for all parties involved. After a car accident, always consider your health and safety. Even if you have only suffered minor accident injuries, consider seeking medical help. Doing so can protect any potential settlement claim.
Likewise, consider consulting with a hard-working car accident attorney to hear your claim. A car accident has so many factors at play. From receiving necessary medical treatment to proving the other driver’s fault in an accident, legal assistance is crucial. For this reason, it is recommended that you contact an experienced car accident lawyer immediately. With proper precaution, you can avoid common car accident case errors.
Overall, there are many factors at play in a car accident case. Since liability may not be black and white, you should work to find help and continually build your case.