Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to prove fault when dealing with a car accident?
There will always be some degree of fault for you to prove. Luckily, however – if there is to be some luck in these unhappy scenarios – there are some situations in which proving fault is taken out of your hands almost entirely.
There will always be some point of contention designed to mitigate circumstances, like the sun being in the driver’s eyes or some kind of medical spasm that has since disappeared because he’s made a miraculous recovery.
However, if one of the following circumstances plays out in your favor, you will have much less to prove than the defendant will.
Assigning fault in a car wreck is clear-cut when one party has clearly broken traffic laws.
Violations can include speeding, failure to yield, running a stop sign and a number of other specific issues. Since state and local laws vary, determining whether violations apply in your situation may require some research online or at your local DMV.
If you find yourself with questions, consider contacting a qualified auto accident attorney.
If you consider flying solo, look up the exact motor vehicle statute in question and use the verbiage when talking with the claims adjustor at the insurance company. Not only will you sound confident and knowledgeable, but you will also be taken more seriously.
Many smaller traffic violations are things that can be handled over the phone, and claims adjustors want to know what happened as concisely and quickly as possible.
The only caveat here? Don’t cite the wrong statute. Nothing makes you look sillier than talking about an entirely different vehicle law and sounding self-assured while you do so.
These can be potentially deadly crashes for the plaintiff, resulting in serious vehicle and bodily damage. Because they have little ability to escape from the collision, liability is heaped almost entirely upon the defendant.
In rear-end collisions, the law supports the driver in front.
This applies even if the defendant is driving incredibly close to his bumper, as you would when frustrated by a slow driver in traffic. The idea is that the rear driver should know to fall back and leave a few car lengths in between him and the front driver.
It’s not the front’s driver’s fault if the rear driver decides to close the gap and tempt fate.
This even applies if the front driver is stopped in traffic and the gap is miniscule. The driver in front may, however, face challenges with this type of collision if he has been negligent 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 help you protect yourself.
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 it will also sometimes include 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.
Of course, this doesn’t mean an officer will always show up to the scene of an accident.
If that’s the case, you will want to get to the closest police station as soon as possible after an accident. After all, a police report is you and the defendant recounting the story of what happened to an officer, who writes it down on paper. He’ll then ask witnesses to back up what you and the defendant said.
If the officer is MIA you can tell the defendant to join you at the station as well, though you can’t make him go with you. This will show you are observant, conscientious and ready to play the game. Insurance companies are far less likely to pay damages if there isn’t a police report on file.
Make sure to check the report for factual inaccuracies.
If the error is something like a time or place mistake, that can be easily fixed. In terms of something bigger like who was at fault, though? That requires forms and bureaucracy. Each station likely has their own procedures, so it’s best to consult with an attorney in order to streamline the process.