Car accident liability can be tricky, but these tips can help…
Although most automobile accidents are “accidental,” determining who is at fault is important for a number of reasons. The liable, or “at fault,” party is responsible for the costs the other party incurred as a result of the accident. This includes repairs to the other party’s damaged vehicle, medical expenses like emergency room visits or bills from a doctor, therapy, or visits to another specialist depending on the injury.
Individuals who have sustained physical or financial injuries as a result of a car accident can demand compensation for not only the wages they lost, but for the pain and suffering they experience in living with an accident-related injury. Because it is the liable party’s insurance company that covers the expenses created by the accident, the person who is found to be “at fault” will likely see an increase in their auto insurance policy – and they may even be seen as a “high risk” driver.
Should you be involved in a car accident, the following steps can help you to determine who is liable.
STEP 1: Do NOT admit fault at the scene.
While you are exchanging insurance information or filing an accident report with the local police department, be sure to give facts as you remember them. Even if you feel that you may have contributed to the incident, the accident could have been caused by another occurrence which you weren’t even aware of and can therefore be anything but cut-and-dry. Admitting fault will make you responsible for the accident.
STEP 2: Collect evidence.
Be sure to take pictures of each vehicle involved and where they were located at the time of the crash, if possible. If any outside witnesses saw the crash occur, take their statements and contact information because you may need them later on. Their version of events could help determine which party was really at fault.
STEP 3: File a police report.
The police report will be very important during the investigation to determine liability. Because neither insurance company wants to be responsible for the costs of the accident, the police report will be reviewed in-depth by each side as a neutral resource. Police should also ask any individuals who witnessed the accident to make a statement for the report, as the point of view from a neutral party may be to your benefit.
STEP 4: Observe and document the driving conditions at the time of the incident.
Be conscientious of any posted speed limits, stop signs, school zones, “no turn” signs, etc. that may or may not have been present at the time and place of your accident. If a car involved in the accident was turning but did not have their turn signal on at the time of incident, proving that the signal was not flashing at the time of impact may be enough to establish fault in a case.
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STEP 5: Obtain legal advice.
If you are unsure as to how liability for your car accident may affect your defense or your recovery, an experienced personal injury attorney will have the right expertise to evaluate your collected evidence and build your defense. In addition, an attorney with appropriate knowledge and skill will be able to work with the liable insurance company to ensure you are getting the maximum compensation amount for your accident.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident, the experienced Tampa injury attorneys at Lorenzo & Lorenzo can help. We’re prepared to investigate extensively to fully prove fault and ensure that your case is fairly settled. Contact us today for a free consultation.