It is pretty evident that determining fault after an accident is not an easy task. It highly depends on the body of evidence that is presented. In most of the cases, the fault is of a group of people. As far as the partial compensation for the at-fault drivers is concerned, the laws vary from state to state.
You must try to know how police, insurance companies, and judges determine liability. Try to understand as to how that affects drivers in different states.
How to determine fault in an auto accident?
Right after an accident occurs, the first step for the police or your attorney is to collect as much relevant evidence as possible. This includes getting photos of the vehicle damage and road conditions and gathering eye-witness accounts. They also get an account from the drivers each driver as to what exactly occurred. The police try to find out whether traffic laws were broken and as to who is at fault for the collision. The concerned driver is supposed to file a police report describing the details of the accident. In this context, the police officer’s report is considered to be of grave importance. In an insurance claim and legal case, this piece of evidence is vital.
Certain times, police officers might be unaware of evidence that emerges at a later stage. This is the reason why the police report can be disputed. You should ask for the police officer’s name and badge number, the police report number, and a copy of the report, without fail.
In case the accident was entirely your fault, you can call your auto insurance company. You can pretty much file a claim under your collision coverage. In case the accident was partially or entirely the fault of the other driver, you can contact both your insurer and the other driver’s insurer. At the time of making an insurance claim, the insurance company usually reviews the police report. They also check whether there are any medical reports filed by doctors and emergency medical responders.
When you hire a personal injury lawyer, he conducts an in-depth investigation. He is often required to interview eye-witnesses, speak to doctors, consult with accident re-creation specialists, secure video footage and information from the vehicle’s black box etc. Once all of these pieces of evidence are gathered, the insurance companies weigh all this evidence to determine fault in a claim. In most cases, more than one driver is at fault.
Steps to take after an accident
You are required to collect evidence, first and foremost. Your case is hollow without enough relevant pieces of evidence! Once you have a good deal of evidence to support your claim, you need to follow a bunch of crucial procedures.
Consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer without much delay. Do it before discussing your case with the other driver’s insurer. Keep in mind that insurance companies intent to settle for less compensation than you may deserve. On the other hand, an attorney can guide you smartly, providing the right legal options. They are the ones who handle all the communication with the insurance companies. Last but not least, they are the ones to help you get the best compensation possible.
Third-party evidence can be crucial
A good deal of deliberation has to be put at the time of determining the fault. If a motorcycle is driving in an erratic manner, a third-party witness statement can help to a great extent. This might help the police determine fault.
In a case where the vehicle is hit from behind, but they jump in front of a car with no time to stop, the case is not usually that clear to the police.
One needs to keep in mind that a motorcycle can weave in and out of traffic with shorter spaces. The motorcycle driver might even appear to be the victim. But, in reality, they caused the accident. Here is when the witness can play a vital role by helping the police to know that irresponsible driving is the root cause of the accident. Witnesses can settle disputes between drivers’ viewpoints. This is more so when it involves no officer.
Working of the laws
In accidents, there are certain factors that influence as to how legal liability is determined. In case both or all the parties are negligent, then the ones who are more negligent, usually are liable to pay for a larger portion of the damages suffered.
However, the injured parties’ compensation might be reduced. As per the doctrine “Comparative Negligence,” the parties will be responsible for. In case the person was at a place where he was not supposed to be, then his injuries may not be compensated by the other party. This is mainly because that person had no duty of due diligence towards him.
The employer might be responsible for the acts of the negligent person who has caused the accident at the time of being on the job. This doctrine is known as “Respondeat Superior”. It is applicable when the negligent person was acting under the scope or duties of their employment.
The manufacturer might be responsible for accidents that occur due to the improper construction of the car, truck, motorcycle, or bicycle. In such cases, it is the owner who takes responsibility if the vehicle that has caused the accident is poorly maintained.
In case you or a loved one has been involved in a traffic accident, you can get great support from a car accident attorney. You must keep in mind that all drivers have a duty to exercise due diligence in carrying passengers.
It can be stated that there are many combinations of responsibility and liability surrounding common car accidents. It is not an easy task to figure out who to turn for damages. The steps need to be taken cautiously. When you have the support of an experienced car accident attorney, you can shake off some portion of the stress from your shoulders.