Best Practices For Proving Fault In An Auto Accident
Being involved in an auto accident can be a trying experience for just about anyone. Having to prove that you're not responsible for causing an accident and that the other driver is at fault only adds frustration and stress. In a select few cases, proving fault can easily turn into an uphill battle, which is why you want to take a look at the following if you want to bolster your argument to the insurance company and help your car accident attorney win the case.
Always Fill Out a Police Report
Shortly after the accident, you'll want to have a police officer arrive on the scene to make a report of the accident. Having a law enforcement officer's account of the accident scene offers tremendous weight when it comes to proving fault. This account should be as specific as possible and any mentions of careless driving or traffic law violations on part of the other driver should strengthen your argument.
Without a police report, the insurance company only has your word and the word to the other driver to go on when determining who's at fault. The insurance company will have a much harder time deciding based on "he-said/she-said" accounts, even if your account describes precisely what happened.
Research Your Local Traffic Laws
Finding out whether the other driver's actions were in violation of state and local traffic laws could also prove useful for establishing fault against the other driver. In most cases, you can find a simplified version of the vehicle code at the local branch of your department of motor vehicles (DMW) office or testing center. The complete version of the vehicle code is more likely to be found at your nearest law library, as well as the public library.
Another question that's commonly asked is whether you should move your vehicle immediately after an accident. Some may argue that the scene must be preserved as is and that moving your vehicle could leave you with less proof of your claim. However, most vehicle traffic laws require you to move your vehicle out of the roadway whenever it's safe to do so.
Take Advantage of No-Doubt Liability
"No-doubt" liability refers to accidents where there is absolutely no doubt that the other driver is at fault. These situations include:
- Rear-end collisions, where the driver who rear-ends you is automatically considered at-fault, and
- Left-turn accidents, where the vehicle making the left turn is usually considered at-fault if it collides with another vehicle traveling straight
Keep in mind that there are exceptions to the above, but proving the other driver's fault becomes tremendously easier if the accident was caused by either action.