How is fault determined in a car accident?

by | Jul 16, 2020 | Motor vehicle accidents

It happens in the blink of an eye: one minute you’re driving, then suddenly, you find yourself slamming on your brakes just as you collide with another vehicle.

Car accidents are terrifying, and it can be confusing trying to understand how it happened right afterward. You may be in shock, shaken, injured or simply unclear about what just unfolded. Most of all, you begin to concern yourself over who’s at fault.

You know you’ll have to file a police report, and answer questions about what happened on the scene as well as by insurance companies later. You may feel at a loss, because you’re convinced it was the other driver, while they may be convinced you caused the accident. How is this dealt with?

Evidence will point investigators in the right direction

Evidence will be collected and examined. This can include statements and descriptions from people involved plus any witnesses, photographs of the scene, police reports, expert analysis of the impact, extent of damage, and what traffic patterns were present at the site of the accident.

One of the most important things you can do at the site of an accident is remain silent. Do not apologize or make statements about the moments leading up to the collision, as they can be used against you by insurance companies. It’s best to speak with a lawyer as you unpack what happened so you can figure out what your options are.

Some types of collisions, like a rear collision, place fault on the person in the rear vehicle. A person who runs a stop sign or stop light, or who makes a poorly timed left turn can also be faulted. However, it’s not always easy or possible to prove how the collision occurred, and in those cases, the insurance company may physically inspect the vehicles for signs of impact angle and speed.

By remembering to stay silent about potential fault until you’ve spoken to a lawyer, you can let the details of the accident unfold so you can get to the bottom of what happened.