Road and Traffic Accidents

Motor Vehicle Accident: How to Determine Who is at Fault

Written by Umrah Syed

If you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident, it’s important to understand who is at fault. Why? Because proving who is at fault in a car accident will determine any possible liabilities. This is where a good compensation lawyer comes in.

The financial and emotional repercussions of car damage and motor vehicle injuries can be hard to handle. While a compensation lawyer can help you navigate the process of motor vehicle accident claims, it’s also up to you to provide evidence.

If the worst happens and you’re in a motor vehicle accident, here’s what you need to do.

1. Take note of traffic violations

The best time to decide who is at fault is at the scene of the accident. If the police have turned up and someone has been issued a ticket for speeding, running a red light, drink driving or other violation, they will likely be at fault.

If the police don’t turn up, you’ll need to judge for yourself if any laws have been broken. Ensure you know what steps to take directly after the accident has occurred.

Importantly, you should never admit to being at fault for the accident – not to the other driver, the police, or any witnesses – even if you feel you’re to blame. It can be easy to get caught up in the shock of an accident and say the wrong thing, so it’s best to stay calm and leave it to the experts to decide who is at fault.

2. Start collecting evidence

When it comes to proving fault in a car accident, police and insurance companies can rely on different types of evidence. Firstly, write down the names and addresses of anyone involved in the accident. You should also collect the personal details of the actual owner of the vehicle, as well as their rego number and insurance company details.

Note the time, date and location of the where the accident happened, as well as the speed you believe you were going and even the weather conditions. You should also determine what kind of accident it was. Was it a rear-end collision? Did the other driver run a red light while you were turning? To strengthen the evidence, take photos of any damages to the vehicles and other property, skid marks on the road, personal injuries, or anything else you feel is relevant.

3. Talk to witnesses

While less reliable, witness statements can help with proving fault in a car accident – especially if several people hold the same view. If there are any witnesses present, record their names and phone numbers, as well as their accounts of the accident. Importantly, get them to explain the reasons why they believe which driver or drivers are at fault.

You should also record any comments made by the drivers after the accident. If one driver (inadvertently or not) says something like, “I’m sorry for rear-ending you,” or “I didn’t see you turning,” then they will likely be assigned most or all of the blame.

4. Consider if the other driver was negligent

When it comes to motor vehicle accident claims, negligence is often the legal justification used in the compensation process. Besides obvious violations of traffic laws, such as running a red light or speeding, take note of any not-so-obvious forms of irresponsible driving.

Was the other driving travelling without headlights on at night? Did they fail to use their blinker to indicate? Were they texting while driving? Did they not look both ways before turning? The more answers you have to these questions, the better chances you’ll have of getting the compensation you deserve.

5. Get a compensation lawyer on board

If you’ve suffered motor vehicle injuries as a driver, passenger or pedestrian, or your car has been damaged in any way due to a motor vehicle accident, it’s worth chatting to a compensation lawyer. Experienced lawyers can help you determine who is at fault in a car accident, guide you through the motor claims process, and determine what kind of compensation is available to you.

Compensation lawyers will help you make sense of the evidence, identify and collect any other relevant details you need, and lodge your claim in a timely matter. They also play a vital role in negotiating a settlement for you from the opposing insurance companies. At the end of the day, they can help relieve the financial and emotional pains of being in a car accident.

For more information on proving who is at fault in motor vehicle accident and the claims process if you are suffering from motor vehicle injuries, contact Schreuders today.

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