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How Do I Prove Who Was at Fault in a Car Accident?

“Whose fault was it?” is the first question most people would ask when they hear about a motor vehicle accident. And the answer to this question could have serious legal consequences for the parties involved.

It determines who the victim is and whose insurance provider will cover the costs of damages and repairs. In addition, the at-fault party could even be held for criminal liability and be subject to penalties and fines.

You can prove fault in a motor vehicle accident case in three ways as follows:

1. Obtain an In-depth Understanding of Local Traffic Laws

Most people are unaware of the precise traffic laws applicable to the municipality, county, and state. You should research these laws to gain an upper hand in the event of an accident. You can get basic details from the Department of Motor Vehicles. Court and state government websites are also good places to acquire useful links and references.

For instance, using these legal resources, you can determine the exact distance that a vehicle needs to maintain from the one in front of it. You may also find a set of laws that describes who could be at fault in car accidents involving left-turns.

It is in your best interests to retain a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer if you were injured in a car accident which you believe occurred due to another’s fault.

2. Police Reports May Hold a Clue

The police will usually visit the accident site, if any injury has occurred. The officer who responds to the scene would make an incident report. It is probable that the officer may mention their individual opinion of who might be at fault. In any case, the police report may contain some factual evidence as well as an analysis of the evidence.

For instance, the incident report may mention that a party was speeding as estimated by the length of the skid-marks on the road. Information about drugs or alcohol may also be included in the report which can offer more proof to establish fault.

You can obtain a copy of the police report by inquiring with the police department’s traffic division, or if you have already consulted a personal injury lawyer, they will arrange a copy for you.

3. Examine and Analyze the Evidence

When you are in an accident, your senses are heightened and you automatically enter survival mode. You may not be in a position to objectively assimilate information about the accident. However, at a later stage, when your nerves have calmed, you should be ready to examine and analyze every important piece of evidence.

For instance, you may understand a lot from an accident by just looking at damage to the vehicle. Make sure you take pictures of all the damage before any repairs are done. If possible, you should also take pictures of the scene of accident.

Photos always tell a story better than words. Take as many photographs as possible to back your version of how the accident occurred. Take pictures of debris on the roadway, traffic signs, and any other important evidence.

Check if there were any witnesses on the scene. You may get a more objective view of the accident after talking to eyewitnesses. Ask them to write down a brief description of what they saw. Don’t forget to note down their contact information.

Get in touch with the Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Shapiro & Appleton

It can get difficult to prove that the other party was at-fault in auto accidents. The knowledgeable car accident lawyers at Shapiro & Appleton can collect evidence, build a robust case, and hold the at-fault party liable for your injuries. Call us at 800-752-0042 today if you or your loved ones have been in a car accident, and are looking to obtain maximum possible compensation for your injuries.


Richard N. Shapiro
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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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