It can be very difficult to prove fault in an auto accident, especially one that happens at an intersection. These cases involve left-hand turns, yielding traffic, and signal lights, and questions of liability are the only certainty. Officers sometimes make liability determinations without a full investigation, and insurance adjusters are trained to use the comparative fault doctrine to reduce payouts. Here, drivers can learn several ways to prove fault in an accident.
Obtain a Copy of the Police Report
The first step in determining fault is to get a copy of the police report. While the report itself may be inadmissible in court, it can help to document liability. Look for admissions made by other parties, and compare the other driver’s listed speed to the area’s posted speed limit. If the other person was speeding, a plaintiff can list it as a contributing factor.
Speak to Witnesses
The second step is to see whether the police report lists independent witnesses. Most of the time, those who see a crash simply continue on their way, and they only stop to help or talk to the police if it’s a serious collision. If a witness is listed, the plaintiff or their attorney should get that person’s statement as soon as possible. Memories fade with time, and the longer one waits, the harder it is to prove fault.
Take Photos of Damaged Property
Thirdly, the plaintiff should document the damage to all vehicles involved in the accident. Typically, the location of such damage can offer valuable insight into the collision’s details. Also, in major cases, an accident reconstructionist can use the photos during court testimony. These witnesses can help plaintiffs prove fault in auto accident and personal injury cases.
Learn About State Law
Next, plaintiffs should read the state motor vehicle laws that apply to their situation. If the other party violated state law, there may be an automatic presumption of fault, otherwise known as negligence per se. If the case goes to trial, the applicable statute will be read in front of the jury.
Call an Attorney Today
These are just some things that can help plaintiffs prove fault in auto accident cases. If the case depends on the plaintiff’s word against the defendant’s, and there are no objective witnesses available, an auto accident attorney can help. Call today for more details or to schedule a free consultation.