If you are ever involved in a car accident, the most important thing your auto insurance company will want to know is: Who was at fault? Insurance companies make money by not having to pay for claims, so they’ll want to shift the blame to the other driver involved, if possible. So how is fault proven? Is it your fault that another car ran a red light and hit you as you crossed an intersection? Is a rear-end collision always caused by the driver who rear-ended you? Read on to learn ways in which you can determine who caused an accident.
Traffic laws can help determine if a driver was in violation and therefore caused the accident. For example, it is generally understood that a person who rear-ends another is at fault 99% of the time because these kinds of accidents are often caused by tailgating, or driving too close. However, if the accident happened because the other car’s brake lights were not functional, or the car was disabled and left in the road, then the driver who was rear-ended could be partially at fault. Likewise, many drivers are considered to be at fault if they hit another vehicle while turning left. However, if the driver going straight ran a red light, then he or she would be at least partially liable. You can find information about traffic laws at your local library or Department of Motor Vehicles.
Police reports can also be helpful in determining fault. If the accident was minor, then police may not have come to the scene. But in cases where the accident resulted in significant damage or injuries, a police report may contain important information that can help your case. The officer will generally state his or her opinion about how the accident happened and who should be at fault. In some cases, the officer may have even given a driver a citation, so that type of information would be helpful to you.
It’s also a good idea to collect evidence. A notepad, pen and camera should always be kept in your vehicle especially for this purpose. Immediately following the accident, you should take photos of the damage, surroundings and roadway markings, such as skid marks or the traffic sign or signal that was not followed. You should also gather testimony from witnesses, if any. Be sure to jot down their names, contact information and what they saw happen. Their accounts can make or break your case.