Screeching tires, grinding metal, the moment of impact - car accidents are frightening and traumatic. Once the dust clears and you've assessed the injuries and damages, your next concern is likely financial. Even fender benders carry the possibility of increased insurance premiums, and determining fault can be crucial in cases of personal injury or extreme property damage.
Car wrecks don't happen in a vacuum. In most cases someone was reckless or negligent, and proving that fault is often crucial to protecting your financial interests. Read on to learn what to do if you need to prove fault in a car accident.
Obvious Traffic Law Violations
Assigning fault in a car wreck is clear-cut when one party has obviously broken traffic laws. Violations can include speeding, failure to yield and a number of other specific issues. Since state and local laws vary, determining whether violations apply in your situation may require some research at your local library or DMV. If you find yourself with questions, consider contacting a qualified auto accident attorney.
Car Accidents Involving Rear-End Collisions and Left Turns
Proving fault is often simple and straightforward in cases of "no doubt" liability, including rear-end collisions and left-turn impacts.
In rear-end collisions, the law supports the driver who was struck from behind. The common wisdom is that drivers who leave sufficient space between themselves and the car in front of them should have ample time to make even the most abrupt stop. You may, however, face challenges with this type of collision if you've been negligent yourself by failing to maintain brake lights and other systems.
When a car going straight is struck by a car making a left turn, it's assumed that the turning driver entered the intersection without sufficient space and time to make the turn. These auto accidents are identifiable by the specific damage caused to both cars. The turning driver will have damage on the front of his car, while the other automobile's damage will appear on the front-right side.
As with rear-end collisions, the straight-traveling driver may still hold some liability in a left-turn accident if he is found to have run a red light or exceeded the speed limit. If you are unsure of your level of fault, an auto accident attorney can help you understand your potential liability and guide you in what to do to protect yourself.
Fault Supported by Police Reports
Before pursuing any legal action following a car wreck, be sure to obtain a copy of the police report. This will not only tell you if the responding officer cited the other driver for any violations, but also sometimes includes the officer's own thoughts on the cause. If the other driver was in fact at fault, the police report can be your most valuable tool in proving that liability and protecting your own interests.
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