Jason Stephens | April 16, 2020 | Car Accidents
If you are injured in a car accident, the other driver might be liable for your injuries and damages. However, before you can recover any money for a car accident claim, you must prove that the other driver caused the collision. If you cannot prove the other driver was at fault, you may be liable for the total damages caused by the car crash.
Car Accident Investigations to Determine Fault
It can be difficult to determine the cause of some car accidents. An attorney may need to conduct a thorough investigation to determine fault.
Steps that the attorney may take to investigate a car crash include, but are not limited to:
- Obtain copies of crash reports and police reports.
- Search for videos of the collision from traffic cameras or surveillance cameras.
- Interview witnesses.
- Visit the car accident scene to search for evidence.
- Obtain copies of your medical records.
- Request data and information from a vehicle’s onboard systems.
- Check the weather reports for the date and time of the accident.
- Investigate potential defective product claims.
- Hire accident reconstructionists and other accident experts.
- Inspect the vehicles to assess the damage to each vehicle involved in the car accident.
In many cases, the evidence gathered through the accident investigation reveals who was at fault for the cause of the crash. However, some car accident cases are more complicated. There may not be sufficient evidence to identify the party responsible for causing the car accident.
In those cases, a more detailed examination of the car accident damage could help determine fault. In many cases, experts are retained to perform a detailed examination of the car accident damage.
Using Damage to the Vehicles to Prove Fault for a Car Accident Claim
During a collision, each vehicle sustains damage. The location and severity of the damage to the vehicles can reveal details about how the crash occurred. For example, if both vehicles have front end damage, it could be difficult to determine which vehicle caused the accident from the damage.
On the other hand, if one car has front end damage and the other vehicle has rear-end damage, it is assumed that the vehicle with front end damage caused the crash by slamming into the rear of the other vehicle.
However, if one car has front end damage and the other vehicle as damage to the side passenger door, it could be evidence of a failure to yield the right of way claim. The vehicle with the damage to the side of the vehicle turned left in front of the other vehicle. Unfortunately, that might not be sufficient to prove fault either because both drivers may claim to have had the right of way when the crash occurred.
Even though most side-impact crashes indicate that the car turning left in front of the other car was at fault, it is not conclusive. The vehicle turning left may have had a green turning arrow and the car coming from the other direction ran a red light. Therefore, you must be careful when assuming car accident damage can positively prove fault.
Why is Fault Important in a Car Accident Claim?
As stated above, if you cannot prove fault, you cannot recover compensation for a car accident claim. However, avoiding any allegation of partial fault is important in a car accident case too.
Under the modified comparative fault laws in Texas, you cannot recover any compensation for an accident if you were 51 percent or more at fault for the cause of the crash. Therefore, if the insurance company for the other driver can use the lack of evidence to convince a jury that you were at least 51 percent at fault for the cause of the crash, you receive nothing for your claim.
Even if the insurance company can convince a jury that you were only 30 percent at fault, you lose money. Your compensation for the car accident claim is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you for the cause of the crash. You could potentially lose one-half of the compensation you deserve if a jury finds you 50 percent at fault.
Get Help with a Car Accident Investigation
The insurance company for the other driver aggressively investigates the crash. It has adjusters, investigators, and experts working to protect its best interest. The goal is to pay you as little as possible for your injury claim, if the insurance company cannot find a way to deny the claim outright.
Protect your best interests by getting help with your car accident claim. An experienced car accident lawyer can investigate the crash and gather evidence to prove that you are not responsible for causing your injuries and damages.