In many cases, yes, fault can be established by where the vehicles have sustained damage after an accident. In cases of “T-bone” accidents, where one car ran a stoplight and hit another in the middle, it’s clear from the impact that the one who should have been stopped is at fault. It’s also relatively simple to determine fault if the back bumper of one vehicle is damaged by another when the first driver was sitting at a stoplight or stop sign and was rear-ended.
Being involved in a car accident, whether you are at fault or not, is a stressful and overwhelming event that can result in a long to-do list in the months, or even years, after the accident itself occurs. Car accidents become even more of a headache when there is a dispute about who was at fault, and whether both or all parties share some blame. A qualified lawyer at Pacific West Injury Law can help you prove liability after your accident.
The Location of the Damage Is Not the Only Factor Considered in an Accident
In many cases, accidents aren’t as straightforward as simply looking at where a car is damaged. Police reports are so critical, as the officer will usually create a diagram of where the cars ended up after the accident, which can also play an important role in establishing fault. Witness testimony may also play a factor, as can the algorithms insurance companies and arbitration organizations use to determine fault.
In short, fault can be determined by the location of damage, but very rarely is this the only factor taken into account when determining fault.
Establishing Fault Isn’t Always Straightforward
In the moments after an accident occurs, those involved often go through a series of intense emotions, from shock to anger and anything else in between. Some drivers are immediately flooded with anger and blame another driver for the accident, which may or may not be how the case is ruled by other entities once the accident is analyzed. There are actually several ways fault can be determined in an accident, including:
At the Scene
With some accidents, one person is clearly at fault and may readily admit that their actions caused the accident. This happens most often when drivers feel intimidated by the other party or emotionally distraught because of the accident, but it’s best to keep these thoughts, and interactions as a whole, to a minimum to avoid legal headaches later on.
Although parties involved can determine fault amongst themselves, this method is not recommended in the vast majority of cases. Either way, be sure to take plenty of photos and videos at the scene of the accident and obtain the contact information of any witnesses.
With a Police Report
Police should be summoned to the scene of the accident right away so that a third party (the police officer) can take a look at the situation in a more objective manner and investigate what events and actions led up to the accident. The police officer will first ensure that anyone who has injuries gets the care and help they need, and they will then proceed to take notes of the damage all vehicles have sustained and where they sit in relation to one another now.
Police can also investigate whether other factors may have caused the accident, such as distracted driving due to a cellphone or impaired driving from drugs or alcohol consumption. The officer will also ask you, other parties involved, and witnesses questions to get a more clear picture of what happened, and their report will then become a public document that insurance companies can review. If one driver sues another and the case goes to court, this document can be helpful in establishing fault with the guilty party and protecting the person who was not responsible from having to pay out large sums of money for an accident they didn’t cause.
If a police officer was not summoned to the scene, you can also file an online report with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, and it’s in your best interest to do this right away.
By the Insurance Company
Insurance companies now have the use of advanced technology from algorithms that can efficiently evaluate damage from car accidents in seconds. The results of the algorithm’s analysis, as well as pictures and videos of the scene, can also establish fault. When the fault is determined this way, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will work with the victim’s insurance provider to sort out costs and reimbursements for claims.
When insurance companies can’t come to an agreement about who is at fault in an accident, they can take their case to a private company, Arbitration Forums Inc., that will ultimately determine fault and who will pay for the accident. Most of the big-name insurance companies handle cases this way when it isn’t immediately obvious who caused an accident.
By a Jury
If your car accident case goes to court, a jury will decide who was at fault for the accident. It’s helpful to have a lawyer throughout the other steps of the process, but going to court is an especially important time to have qualified legal representation. Most car accident cases don’t ever reach a courtroom, but a lawyer can still help you get compensation through a settlement, or represent you if you do ultimately have to go to court.
Get Help with Your Car Accident Case Today with One of Our Skilled Attorneys
Car accident cases can be tricky, whether you believe you caused the accident or not, which is why it’s important to get help from a trustworthy and knowledgeable lawyer as soon as possible after the accident occurs. Finding the right lawyer can make or break your case, and it can drastically affect the amount of compensation you receive, or whether you receive any at all.
If you’re ready to speak with a lawyer about your car accident case and establishing fault for the accident, please contact us today for a free case review.