The litigation and insurance processes following a car accident may differ depending on your case’s details and the state in which you reside. For instance, there are at-fault and no-fault states, each of which enforces different rules for assigning liability for car accidents. In some circumstances, you may be wholly innocent in your crash, whereas in others, you and the other driver may share liability. When you have been involved in serious car accident, the process of determining liability is critical, as it directly impacts your eligibility to receive compensation after the crash.
Who is At-Fault for Your Car Accident?
One of the first steps of determining fault in a car accident is filing a police report. Although it is not guaranteed that the responding officer will include a statement of liability, many do, which can help to build your case against the negligent driver. Further, this impartial document will include all details surrounding the events of the accident, as the officer will record statements from you and the other motorist. So, whether the officer noted their speculations on liability or not, the report can provide a wealth of information that provides context as to who may have caused the crash.
Once you file your claim for the accident, your insurer will also play a critical role in the determination of liability. Your adjuster will head an investigation into your claim, at which point your policy and state’s legislation will influence the final decision. In an at-fault state, the negligent driver might solely be held liable, while victims in no-fault states might, unfortunately, be assigned partial liability. This may impact your eligibility for compensation. If yours and the other driver’s insurers cannot reach an agreement on liability, or the costs exceed your policy, you may need to progress to legal action.
If your case proceeds to court, you, as the victim, will have to bear the burden of proof. Thus, you and your lawyer must prove the following:
- The negligent driver owed a duty of care to you. This means that they had a legal responsibility to operate their vehicle in a safe manner.
- The negligent driver failed to uphold this duty of care.
- This failure to uphold the duty of care was the direct cause of the collision, and therefore, the damages you incurred.
Seek a Lawyer’s Help for Proving Liability
Proving liability in a car accident is challenging, especially in accidents involving multiple vehicles and motorists, commercial vehicles, or government entities. By seeking a lawyer’s help, you can substantially improve your chances of proving your innocence in the crash. They can collect the following types of evidence to prove the negligent driver’s fault in your case:
- Expert testimonies from an accident reconstructionist.
- Witness testimonies.
- Dashcam or surveillance footage.
- Phone records, in the case of a texting and driving accident
Having such documentation and supporting statements can make a drastic difference in the likelihood of earning compensation for your car accident case. If you are facing difficulties determining fault for your car accident case, get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible.