Car accidents are the most common types of accidents in the U.S. Most of these accidents are caused by driver error, although poor road design, extreme weather events and defective parts play a minor part. Negligence must be proven if anyone who has been injured stands a chance of obtaining compensation from whoever was at fault.
Determining fault is an important part of any personal injury claim. There are several ways that fault can be determined, including the location and extent of any damage to your vehicle. Ask a personal injury attorney to help you determine fault.
How Does the Location and Extent of Damage Determine Fault?
The location of any damage to your vehicle is a very important piece of evidence that can build up a picture which can determine fault in a car accident. The obvious signs that demonstrate how you were damaged are dents and crumpled panel work, smashed lights, scratches and paint marks.
Crash investigators can determine whether it was a head-on collision, side collision, rear end collision, how fast the collision took place and the type of vehicle involved. For example, if you were hit by a car exiting from a side driveway, it would be on the right hand (driver) side of your car. The exact position of the damage should be consistent with the position of the front fender of the vehicle that hit you from the side.
The location and size of the damage is rarely enough by itself to determine fault, but together with other evidence, such as photos taken, the police report, eye witness statements it should certainly help to support your claim.
How Should I Gather Evidence to Help Determine Fault?
If your injuries allow you to do so, it is better to obtain as much useful information as you can at the crash scene as this will help your claim if you decide to file one later. You should take photos of the damage done and the positions of the vehicles involved and the surrounding environment. You could use your cell phone or tablet for photos. Ask any witnesses for contact details; make sure you get a copy of the police report made at the scene; get a copy of the damage report made by the repair yard after your vehicle is towed away.
If there was a hit and run incident involved, police will probably want to examine the damage done carefully before any repairs are done as this might help to identify the vehicle that hit you.
Will I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
It makes sense to contact a personal injury lawyer before you file a personal injury claim. The lawyer will have dealt with many claims like yours before and may assess the evidence that you have available and give you an objective opinion about your chances of success in a personal injury claim. The lawyer may advise you whether the evidence you have got, such as the nature and location of the damage done is sufficient to convince an insurer that negligence was involved. The lawyer will be able to negotiate more skillfully with the at-fault driver’s insurer if you decide to take legal action.