Finding Fault in a Car Accident: A Complicated Process

Two Cars in an Intersection After an Accident

Finding who is at fault in a car accident can sometimes be very easy to do. But other times, determining fault can be quite difficult. Adding to the difficulty are a number of factors:

  • Who is involved in determining fault. This includes law enforcement, insurance companies, and the court system.
  • Who is at fault vs. who is liable. Usually, this is the same person, but depending on the circumstances, it might not be.
  • Liability varies from state to state. This may mean that drivers involved in the accident may have varying levels of liability.

Ultimately, the importance of determining fault is discovering who will need to pay for damages and personal injuries, as well as who may be criminally liable.

The Importance of Gathering Evidence

When you’re involved in a car accident, it’s important to gather as much evidence as possible. Evidence is the primary way that fault is determined. Collecting evidence includes taking pictures of your car’s damage and the overall crash scene, gathering names of the driver and passengers, the other car’s license plate number, eyewitnesses’ names and their accounts, and comments made by the other driver, other passengers, and the police officer. If you need to file a lawsuit to receive compensation, then collecting evidence will be important to help win your case.

The Impact of a Police Report

Evidence also includes the police report. Sometimes, a police officer will determine fault at the scene of the crash, but not always. Even if fault is determined, liability is not automatically determined. A traffic citation may be evidence for liability. For example, if a driver was found speeding which resulted in the crash, most likely that person will be held legally responsible.

Insurance Companies and the Determination of Fault

Insurance companies will have an adjuster investigate the accident, examining the evidence that you have gathered as well as evidence he or she will find through eyewitness accounts, medical reports, and vehicle damage. The insurance company will determine which driver was negligent. This may mean both drivers are found to be negligent, depending on the circumstances of the car crash and the state where the car crash occurred.

The Judicial System—Finding Negligence

If you decide to sue the other driver, the courts will determine if he or she was negligent. Similar evidence used by law enforcement and the insurance companies will be examined by the judge or jury, as well as other evidence such as accident reconstruction. A traffic citation or violation cited on the other driver can help your case since that can show negligence.

Experienced Car Accident Attorneys, Ready to Help You

If you or a loved one has been in a motor vehicle accident, and you are unsure of who is at fault, you need experienced personal injury lawyers who can help you. Branch & Dhillon, P.C. will meticulously look over your case and give you expert legal guidance. Contact us today for a free consultation at (817) 533-3430.