In most car accidents it is relatively easy to determine who is responsible for the accident. In the case of a drunk driver, for example, or someone hitting a parked car. Determining fault in these types of cases is relatively cut and dried, and they are usually settled with relatively little conflict. Other times, the at-fault party is less obvious. Especially when both drivers are emphatic that they have done nothing wrong. In cases such as these, it takes some deducing to determine the responsible party.
Fault is one of the most important things to be determined following an accident, after confirming the safety of all parties. The at-fault party is the one responsible for the accident and can be held legally responsible to pay for the damages. Typically, it is not the individual themselves who will pay the damages; that is where their insurance company’s lawyers and representatives come in.
Insurance companies have a vested interest in paying out as little money as they can—it’s their business model—so the determination of fault needs to be stronger than just someone saying so. If you believe you are the victim, it is important to create the strongest case possible. Because some states have relatively complex laws for determining fault, and both drivers can be held responsible based upon the part they played in the accident, consulting a car accident attorney is an important first step to building your case. These individuals are trained and will help you gather the necessary evidence to support your claim.
Certain accident types have a statistical probability of one party being at fault. In the case of rear end collisions, for example, it is virtually always the fault of the back driver (who hit the other vehicle). Without having been a witness to the accident, the police can clearly see that the car with the banged up front bumper is the one who hit the car with the damaged rear bumper. The back car will almost always be considered the at-fault party, regardless of the reason the front car was stopped.
A police report stating that you are not responsible is one of the strongest tools you can have to support your claim. Police do not always show up to an accident, but if they are called or do report to the scene, there are likely to make an official report. The police report will include as much detail as the officer can discern, including their belief of the at-fault party.
The report will contain the officer’s observations of the scene, a judgment call on speed of cars based on skid marks, and statements of witnesses. If it is a rear end collision, or left-turn accident, the police will likely use the historical precedent when forming their opinion of the responsible party. The report will become a part of permanent record and will be the number one thing the insurance company will want to have before making a determination on the case.
Car Accident Lawyers
A car accident lawyer will help you to build your case so you don’t have to go up against the insurance company alone. A lawyer will help you collect the evidence, including amending the police report in the event that it is factually incorrect, interviewing witnesses, collecting doctors’ statements, and even photographs as necessary. The insurance company has a staff dedicated to researching and crafting a case; your car accident lawyer has the time and experience and will serve this role for you, crafting the best case they can to support your claim.