4 Ways to Prove Fault After a Car Accident
It’s not always easy to prove fault in a car accident. The Vehicle and Traffic Law and/or the Traffic Rules of the City of New York govern who is at fault in a car crash. As a result, many crashes lead to lawsuits in order to determine the responsible party.
Not all car accidents are complicated legal matters. There are times when proving someone was at fault in a car accident is straightforward and easy to prove. However, when there are conflicting stories or someone refuses to accept responsibility, lawyers often get involved.
If you are currently pursuing a claim or lawsuit related to a car crash, you need to prove the other driver was at fault. In this article, we examine the four best ways to prove fault after a car accident.
#1 Traffic Law Violations
The best way to get the law on your side is to make sure you are compliant. So, for example, if there is obvious proof someone failed to yield during a traffic turn while you had the legal right of way, they obviously violated a traffic law.
When you begin to build a case around a car accident, the first thing you need to do is familiarize yourself with local and state traffic laws. Unfortunately, traffic laws are not universal, so each state and local municipality enforces them differently. What is allowed in New York may not be the same as in Minnesota. Sometimes what is allowed in the suburbs is not allowed in New York City (for example, right turns on red).
You may need to make sure you understand what the local town or village classifies as traffic violations in order to prove negligence. If no local town or village regulation classifies the action, you may need to look at the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law. Common traffic violations include speeding, running a red light, failure to yield, and running a stop sign. If you are able to prove a traffic violation occurred either with a traffic camera recording or eyewitness reports, you have a very high likelihood of proving who is at fault in the collision.
Injury attorneys who specialize in traffic accidents are well versed in local and state traffic laws. You can save yourself a lot of time and money by consulting an injury attorney to clarify the validity of your case. The attorney should be able to tell you if the other driver was at fault based on applicable driving laws.
#2 “Full Liability” Car Crashes
Rear-end collisions and failing to yield on a left turn are two examples of crashes where the driver that violated the traffic rule may have full responsibility (known as liability) for the crash. In these cases, it is often easy to prove fault based on evidence. In these situations, there is visible evidence of where the crash occurred and why, as well as potential eyewitness testimony from other drivers or pedestrians.
Sadly, “full liability” car accidents are often deadly or cause very serious injury. As a result, it is possible the victim or the victim’s family will file a lawsuit. When you can prove that you had little ability to escape the collision because of “full liability,” you can be fairly certain the verdict will find in your favor.
The biggest complication to proving fault in “full liability” scenarios like a left turn collision may be counter arguments from the defendant with accusations you were driving too fast or ran a red light. They may argue the driver making a left turn was unable to prevent the accident because there was no time to react.
Injury attorneys are well seasoned in determining the level of liability based on evidence and first-hand accounts at the scene of the crash. The police report also plays an important role in determining the outcome of settlements, so it’s important to give an accurate version of events.
#3 Police Reports Designate At-Fault Party
Before you pursue legal action, it is almost mandatory that you or your lawyer obtain a copy of the police incident report. The police report is available for free in the event of any auto accident, assuming the police were involved.
The responding officer must submit a police report which will include whether the other driver was cited for any traffic violations. It can also include personal comments from the officer speculating on what he or she believed happened. The report can include details on who the officer suspected was at fault.
It is important to mention that insurance companies are far less likely to pay damages related to a car accident if there is not a police report. So, even if the officer did not arrive on-scene during the crash, you should proceed to the nearest police station as soon as possible in order to file an official report.
#4 Gather Evidence & Eyewitness Accounts
It is not always easy to collect evidence when you’ve been injured in a car crash. However, it is possible to find objective evidence that is more definitive than just what both drivers said happened. Often, other parties witnessed the accident and can corroborate stories. Other drivers not involved in the car crash, as well as cyclists or pedestrians regularly serve as eyewitnesses.
It’s advisable for eyewitnesses to stick around to provide testimony to an officer, which can also be included in the police report.
Furthermore, if you are able to, you can record video and/or images of the scene of the accident including damage to both vehicles, the location of the vehicles involved in the car accident, and the physical attributes of the scene of the collision. These can be revealing. For example, front-end damage to one vehicle and back-end damage to the other automobile is obvious proof that it was a rear-end collision, even if the personal accounts from both drivers are different.
Greenberg & Stein – New York City Accident Attorneys
What is negligence in a car accident? It proves in a court of law that one party acted irresponsibly and could have avoided causing injury or financial loss to another person. Proving who is at fault, and ultimately negligence, is the only way you can have a favorable outcome in a lawsuit.
If you are considering pursuing legal action involving injuries or financial loss sustained from a car accident, we recommend reaching out to our team at Greenberg & Stein. We are New York City accident attorneys who are here to help represent your case. Our firm offers over 75 years of experience in personal injury settlements, and we have settled or won over 5,000 cases for clients involved in accidents.
Contact us today for a free initial case evaluation at 888-411-3966 or visit our websitefor more information.