After a car accident, you likely will almost immediately be concerned with figuring out who caused the collision. Since the at-fault party’s insurance company is the one that pays for injuries and property damage, this is a critical determination.
Sometimes, determining liability is simple. More often, however, proving fault in a car accident is challenging, due to confusing laws, unusual circumstances, and the possibility that both drivers share the blame.
Don’t try to deal with the process alone. At Russell & Lazarus APC, we can fight on your behalf and help you increase your chances of obtaining compensation. Contact us today.
How Can I Prove the Other Driver Was at Fault?
Proving fault in a car accident case can hinge on the little details. It’s best to do whatever possible to document the events that occurred that day. Focusing on the following can help establish liability:
Call the Police and File an Accident Report
After any car accident, call the police. The officer that responds will write an accident report, which will include pertinent information, including:
- The date and time of the accident
- Weather conditions
- Road conditions
- All parties’ contact and insurance information
- Both drivers’ accounts of the accident
- Statements and contact information from witnesses
- Explanations of property damage
- Explanations of injuries
- Traffic violations
In many cases, the officer also will indicate in the report whether anyone violated traffic laws or committed any other crimes. For example, the police may note that one driver smelled of alcohol or an open container was seen in a vehicle. In this situation, police may note that field sobriety tests were completed or that the person was sent for blood tests to determine whether he/she was driving under the influence.
If citations were issued, if anyone was placed under arrest, or the officer thought one of the driver’s acted recklessly, this also would be in the accident report. All of this evidence could be used to bolster a case, and prove which party was responsible for the crash. Be sure to request a copy of the report, which often can be picked up from the police station a few days after the accident.
Take Note of Where Vehicles Sustained Damaged
The location of the damage on a vehicle can be a key piece of evidence, showing how the accident occurred. For example, if a vehicle is struck while waiting to make a left-hand turn, it will have damage to the driver’s side. The striking vehicle will have front-end damage. In general, the driver making the left-hand turn would be found responsible. This is because laws require them to yield to oncoming traffic, which have the right of way. Exceptions would be if the vehicle that struck the turning vehicle was speeding or blew a red light.
Take Photos of the Accident Scene
A picture is worth a thousand words, and they can be invaluable in proving fault in a car accident. Before evidence gets destroyed or washed away, take photos of both vehicles and their damage. The shots should be taken at multiple angles, so nothing relevant is missed. Make sure to get images of the vehicles’ license plate and any other debris around the vehicle, such as falling bumpers. Snap photos of the inside of the vehicles, as well. Get up close shots of any broken equipment, shattered glass, deployed airbags, or blood stains. Also, take pictures that depict the weather conditions and unusual road conditions, such as potholes, as well as tire marks, and other property damage beyond the vehicles. Finally, get photos of any injuries. All of these images can help give a clearer picture of what happened and who is responsible.
Request Cell Phone Records
Distracted driving, which is engaging in any other activity that takes a motorist’s focus off the road, is the culprit in many car accidents. Specifically, texting, making a phone call, or looking at content on a smartphone have led to many collisions. If your accident occurred because a motorist was using a phone while driving, then the person’s phone provider can provide records of his/her use.
Unfortunately, a wireless provider cannot turn records over to a private citizen, even if the person was a victim in a car accident. However, an attorney can obtain this information, which may help prove liability.
Contact an Orange County Car Accident Lawyer
If you need help proving fault in a car accident case, Russell & Lazarus APC can help. Contact us today to learn more.