Traffic Law

Whose Fault Is It? Determining Liabilty in a Serious Car Accident

In the first few moments after a serious car accident, you may not be thinking very clearly. Not being capable of rational thought is difficult. Trying to assess the situation and determine injuries and damages can be overwhelming. If you have suffered injuries, you must first and foremost seek immediate medical treatment. However, if you have not received injuries which need emergency treatment, doing a few things at the accident site can be a great help in determining liability.

If you are able, make a note of details such as the date, and time of the car accident. Also give details of any weather conditions which may have contributed to the incident, as well as road conditions. Were there any witnesses? Get their names and contact info if possible. Write down as complete a description as you can recall about the details and what lead up to the motor vehicle accident. You may even want to draw a picture of how the accident happened.

It’s also a good idea to snap a few pictures at the accident scene. Were there any skid marks, showing you tried to avert the accident? Be sure to include both your car and the other vehicle involved as well. It is also a good idea to document damage to any personal property which was in the car.

Make sure to note if the other driver was somehow distracted ( talking on the phone, texting) or involved in anything illegal. Did he or she make an illegal turn, or drift into your lane? It is helpful if a witness can corroborate your statement. Filing a police report can be very helpful. Even in a small accident, you should always attempt to have a police report filed.

Obtaining a good personal injury claim lawyer is the next step in establishing liability in your motor vehicle accident claim. Your personal injury attorney will conduct an investigation into the vehicle accident, and assist you in determining the personal injury claim value of your case. Insurance companies want to defend their clients against a big claim, and will often try to dispute the claim. Another insurance company trick is to offer to split liability, claiming you are partially at fault for the car crash. While this is sometimes the case, if you are confident that it is not the situation in your particular case, be prepared to fight for your rights. Your auto accident attorney will present all of the evidence you have gathered to make your case. Establishing liability is the first step in reaching an acceptable personal injury claim settlement.