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How can I Tell Who is at Fault for a Car Accident?

At-Fault Car Accident

It seems like every time you hit the road, you see a car accident. Whether a minor fender-bender or a severe pileup, it is not uncommon to see accidents on the road.

If you are involved in one of those accidents, you may have questions first about your health and, second, about how you will pay your medical bills to get better. The second question relies heavily on who is at fault for the accident in which you suffered personal injury.

This discussion explores several scenarios for which you should be aware that may give you clues about who is to blame for your car accident. Some situations are more straightforward than others, but in most circumstances, you have a better chance of proving the other driver is to blame when you partner with an experienced car accident lawyer.

Determining Fault of the Other Driver

When you know that another driver hit you, it may seem like there is nothing to argue about. But it is not always that simple, and some drivers will not admit fault, even when it is clear they are to blame. Here are some situations in which it may be clear that fault for the accident sits with the other driver.

The other driver apologizes. It might seem like common courtesy or just a nice thing to do, but when a driver apologizes after a car accident, it can actually be seen as them admitting fault. A driver may say one of the following:

  • I am so sorry this happened.
  • I am sorry your car is damaged.
  • I am sorry you got injured.

These statements are not directly admitting fault, but when a driver apologizes, it could be their way of admitting fault. Especially if police are around to hear this statement, these types of apologies from the other driver can go a long way to proving they were at fault for your car accident and liable for your car damage and medical bills.

The other driver admits fault. Sometimes, drivers simply admit fault. They do not merely apologize but instead state that they were at fault.

When a driver admits fault, make sure that the police note it in the police accident report. You could also ask the driver to admit fault when calling their insurance company, since that call will most certainly be recorded. You want to make sure that the driver’s admission of fault is preserved as evidence because it will make your claim process go much smoother.

The police reports lists the other driver at fault. When you call 911 after your car accident, the police will come to the accident scene. While there, they will speak with you, the other driver, and any witnesses. They will compile this information in the police accident report.

Not every officer will list a driver at fault in their police accident report. Even if they do, the report itself is not binding. But if the police accident report does list the other driver at fault, the report can be used as evidence to show that the other driver should owe you damages.

Even if the police accident report does not list the other driver at fault for your car accident, it will likely contain details that will help your legal team prove the other driver was to blame. For example, it may include information that the other driver was speeding or was cited for running a red light. Both of these, and many other instances, can be used as evidence to hold the other driver accountable for your accident and injuries.

Negligence. When negligence can be shown, it creates a more straightforward claims process for you. Many times, negligence will be listed in the police accident report. But even if it is not, negligence can be shown through many factors.

Before any examples are listed, it is first necessary to define negligence. It is a broad legal term that encompasses many actions by a driver. In every instance, however, the driver, or some other party, took some action or failed to take some action that directly contributed to a car accident.

Distracted driving. One of the most common causes of negligent driving is when a driver is distracted. This comes in many forms:

  • Texting while driving
  • Talking on the phone while driving
  • Dealing with pets or children
  • Changing the radio
  • Adjusting navigation settings
  • Doing makeup
  • Reading
  • Eating

Any of these situations could mean the other driver was negligent in their duty to drive safely. Proving negligence is not simple, but it can be a good way to show the other driver is to blame for your car accident.

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This is a fact that would most likely make it into the police accident report. But sometimes, the police do not test for a driver’s blood alcohol level right away or they have to wait a few days to get drug screen results.

This information, however, is absolutely evidence of the other driver’s negligence. Make sure that, if you suspect the other driver was drunk or under the influence of drugs, you tell the police and you get copies of the police report. Your lawyer can use this information to show the other driver was negligent and should be responsible for your damages.

Aggressive driving. Aggressive driving is not easy to prove. This behavior occurs when a driver is violating several rules of the road at once. For example, a driver who is speeding, not using signals to change lanes, tailgating, and cutting off other drivers could be said to be driving aggressively.

Aggressive driving is against the law. It can also be proof of the other driver’s negligence, making it more likely that you can collect compensation from them for your injuries and vehicle damage.

Poor Road Conditions

When roads are not properly maintained, that can lead to accidents. This could be negligence; however, it would be negligence on the part of a city or municipal government, not the other driver.

This is what makes this type of negligence so challenging. Suing a government entity comes with its own challenges, above and beyond proving negligence. If it can be shown that the road conditions caused or contributed to your car accident, you may have a claim against a government entity for negligence. This type of action will require the guidance and skill of an experienced lawyer.

Defective Car Part

Another entity that could be negligent in your car accident is the car manufacturer or a parts manufacturer. Every car has many moving parts, all of which must work together and correctly each time. If they do not, accidents can happen.

If a car manufacturer assembled the vehicle incorrectly, for example, they may be negligent and responsible for your accident. If a car repair shop failed to put a tire back on correctly and that caused your accident, they could be negligent and responsible.

Getting to the bottom of this type of negligence will require an intense and focused investigation. Working with a lawyer who has the resources necessary to take on such a complex claim can make the difference in your case. Accident reconstruction experts may partner with your legal team to conduct a thorough investigation and determine the cause of your accident.

Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC, Help Clients Recover

When you are involved in a car accident, it may be clear to you that the other driver caused the accident. Unfortunately, they may not readily admit fault and their insurance company may refuse to pay your claim for damages. To help you combat these problems, reach out to the Philadelphia car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. Call us today at 215-569-4888 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Abington, and Media, Pennsylvania; Wilmington, Delaware; and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.