Establishing fault in a car accident requires determining if one driver was negligent or blatantly in violation of the law. Here, the legal professionals at Scholnick Law explain just what negligence is, how to determine fault in a car accident.
Legally speaking, negligence is defined as behavior that is thoughtless or careless, which causes harm or damage to someone’s person or property. Every driver has the “duty of reasonable care,” meaning they must be mindful of pedestrians and other drivers, and abide by driving laws, unless extreme situations hamper the ability to. Sometimes it is easy to determine who was negligent in an accident by using simple logic. Other cases can be less clear.
If you are in an accident, there are several ways to ensure you get a clear picture of who was at fault. It is important to call the police immediately following the accident so that an officer can be present at the scene and file a police report. A police report will sometimes contain the officer’s opinion as to who is at fault, or even a citation they charged against one of the drivers. Even if the report simply describes negligence without detailing specific violations, it will be a valuable tool in proving the other driver’s responsibility for the crash. Witness statements are also valuable – a third-party account can go a long way to proving another party’s negligence. However, it is important to be mindful of the fact that witness statements are not always reliable in court, as people can forget traumatic incidents. As such, it is extremely important to take pictures after an accident so that an insurance company or legal authority can examine concrete evidence as to how an accident occurred, and who is at fault. Now that our cell phones have high quality cameras, it is important to take photos of the accident scene and the damage to all vehicles in the accident before the vehicles leave the scene of the accident.
In cases of accidents where fault is unclear, understanding your state’s driving laws can be useful. Speak with an experienced automobile accident attorney regarding your unique situation to better understand the laws that may be applicable in your case.
There are some accidents, known as “no-doubt” liability cases, that are almost always the fault of the other driver. These are mainly rear-end collisions. The car behind you must maintain a reasonable and safe amount of distance away from you. If they hit you, then they have either neglected to maintain that distance, or were not paying attention. Even if a third car caused the other driver to hit your car, the car that collided with yours may be liable for your specific accident. There may be exceptions to this general rule are if your brake lights or tail lights are out, or if your car was mechanically disabled and you did not do everything in your power to get it safely off the road.
If you are in an accident, being proactive and doing your part to collect any applicable evidence and understanding the laws that pertain to your accident can go a long way to proving that the other drivers involved were at fault. For more information, or to acquire legal representation, contact the attorneys at Scholnick Law today.