How to Determine Who’s at Fault in an Accident and What to Do Next
The average person will be involved in 3-4 accidents in their lifetime. If you’re a driver, chances are you’ll have to deal with the aftermath of an accident more than once.
When an auto accident does occur, it must be determined who’s at fault in order to deal with the resulting expenses. If you’ve recently been in an accident, there are a few things you should know about this process.
Read on for our guide on how to determine who’s at fault for an accident.
Negligence: Who’s At Fault Here?
Determining who’s at fault for an auto accident all comes down to negligence. Who’s negligence led to the accident? Depending on the case, there could be more than one guilty party in the equation.
Here are the main situations that could happen here:
- Comparative negligence is used in some states. This means that each driver is assigned a percentage of guilt. If this system is used, the guilty party’s liability can be reduced based on the actions of the other driver(s).
- Contributory negligence means one person is at fault. In these cases, one driver is responsible for all the liability and expenses incurred.
Depending on the system used, each driver is determined to be wholly or partially at fault. This becomes the foundation for the accident investigation.
When an accident is being investigated, all evidence is taken into consideration. This includes statements made by the drivers involved, statements from witnesses, and any traffic violations that occurred.
The combined evidence will tell the story of the accident, ultimately determining who’s at fault for damages to property and personal injuries. If you’re involved in an accident, take photos and videos of your own and gather as much information as you can. It may help your case while the fault is being determined.
Observing the Aftermath
When determining who’s at fault for an accident, there are circumstances that almost always lead to an indication of guilt. For example, if it’s a rear-end collision, it’s usually the driver who does the rear-ending at fault. Left-turners are often determined to be at fault as well.
However, there are special occasions that deviate from the usual liabilities. If someone runs a red light and hits a left-turning vehicle, then that driver is at fault. A rear-ender may also have occurred if the vehicle in front stopped too quickly.
To figure out who’s at fault for an accident, the aftermath is observed as well as the events that caused it. Once all the facts are considered, the decision is made.
Avoid Admitting You’re At Fault
When you’re in an accident, it can be tempting to smooth things over by apologizing to the other driver, even if you’re not at fault. However, it’s important that you avoid apologizing or otherwise admitting guilt at any point during the investigation.
When you’re cooperating with authorities, it’s also important that you stick to objective facts and observations. Don’t admit to any negligence or oversights on your end, whether or you’re at fault or not.
Save your thoughts and concerns for your auto accident lawyer while you’re figuring out your case. Regardless of the circumstances, they’ll be able to help you achieve the best possible outcome.
Get Legal Assistance Today
If you’ve been in an accident, don’t panic. Even if you’re found to be at fault, a good lawyer can help you navigate the proceedings. By seeking good counsel, you can receive the best outcome from your case.
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