After a car crash, one of the first things that will need to be determined is who caused it. How do you determine who is at fault in a car accident? Depending on the accident, it might be quite obvious. In other cases, that may not be so. When fault is being disputed, insurance companies will typically consider the following to determine fault:
- Police reports
- Accident types
- Traffic laws.
Proving fault can be very hard. Nobody wants to be blamed for an accident and see their insurance rates go up or potentially be sued. Even drivers who know they caused the accident will often deny it. But when you’ve been injured in a crash or suffered significant property damage because of a negligent driver, you deserve to have your losses paid for by the at-fault party.
It is very helpful to get the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney when you have questions about your case. Lawyers who have a background in handling motor vehicle accidents will have in-depth understanding of state traffic laws and the evidence needed to determine fault.
Police Reports Can Help Prove Fault in a Car Accident
In most cases, especially when there are injuries, police will respond to the scene of a crash. They will make a written report about the accident. In Kentucky, police reports typically contain contact and insurance information for drivers, where the accident happened, what the traffic, road and other conditions were like when the accident occurred and other information. Sometimes the officer who made the report might include details about how they believe the accident happened. This may or may not include a fault determination.
It’s important when you’ve been in a crash that you get a copy of the police report. You should review it to make sure it’s correct. If you don’t believe it is, you may need to gather more evidence to support this belief. It is also valuable to know what the insurance company is looking at in case there is information in the report that could hurt your claim.
Accident Types Often Determine Who Is At Fault
There are a couple of types of accidents that leave almost no doubt about which driver caused it. In a rear-end collision it’s almost always the fault of the driver who runs into the back of the other vehicle. Drivers are supposed to leave plenty of stopping distance between themselves and cars ahead. When they don’t and hit a car in front of them, they are usually at fault. The same often holds true in left-turn crashes. People turning left should be sure there is no traffic coming toward them that has the right of way. But if the car going straight ran a red light or was speeding, there can be doubt about liability.
In other crashes, the exact location of damage to vehicles can be analyzed to determine fault. It usually requires experts to determine fault in this way.
Traffic Laws Help Decide Who Is at Fault in an Accident
Violations of traffic laws are also looked at to help determine fault. Is one driver accusing another of an illegal lane change? Was one of the vehicles speeding? Or was a text sent on a driver’s cell phone shortly before the accident occurred? These are just some examples of potential traffic law violations that can be taken into account to discover who may have caused an accident.
Additionally, if police issued any traffic tickets at the accident scene, this can be bad news for drivers on the receiving end when it comes to determining fault.
Understanding Kentucky’s Pure Comparative Negligence System
Sometimes when car accidents happen, more than one person is found to be responsible. When this happens in Kentucky, which is a pure comparative negligence state, any damage award you might get if you are successful in a legal claim will be reduced by your share of fault. If it’s found that you were 20% at fault for causing the crash in which you were injured, your compensation will be reduced by that amount. For example, if you are awarded $20,000, you would receive $16,000.
When you’ve been injured in a crash due to another driver’s negligence, you will likely have large medical bills and possibly have lost considerable time at work. While a damage award won’t fix your injuries, getting the largest amount possible can help you pay your bills and move on with your life. You can see that proving the other party’s fault is critical.
Things to Do Following a Car Accident
If you’re in a crash, there are important steps to take. Of course, the most important thing to do after an accident is to make sure everyone is okay. And if there are injuries, call 911 immediately. Be sure to get medical attention even if you don’t think you were injured. Injuries sometimes show up later. You should also get copies of medical reports, which may be used as evidence later.
Following an accident, don’t admit fault. Leave fault determinations to investigators. If there were eyewitnesses, get contact information. And, importantly, consult with a car accident lawyer for help with your case. A lawyer can do the legwork of interviewing witnesses and obtaining other evidence to determine fault. Car accidents are stressful and confusing, and car accident cases are complex. It helps to have a skilled attorney on your side.
A Seasoned Car Accident Lawyer Will Work on Your Behalf
Car accidents cause physical and emotional trauma. When you’ve been in one because of the carelessness of another driver, you shouldn’t hesitate to seek compensation for your injuries and suffering. But before you can receive fair compensation, the question of who caused the accident must be determined.
If the other driver is denying fault, Johnson Law Firm in Kentucky can help you. We will assertively represent your interests with insurance companies and, if a fair settlement can’t be reached, help you understand your other options. We want you to know we are here to answer your questions about your case. Contact us at 606-437-4488 for a free case evaluation.