On average, five million motor vehicle incidents occur in the United States yearly. They injure millions, kill thousands, and cause billions of dollars in property damage.
Worse, many collision incidents occur because of negligent drivers. While not always deliberate, they still caused the crash due to their actions (or lack thereof).
If you’re a victim of a negligent driver, you can pursue them for compensation. However, you can only recover damages if you can determine and prove their fault.
So how is fault determined in a car accident, then?
Read on as we explore the answers in this guide.
How Is Fault Determined in a Car Accident?
In some states, determining fault in a car accident case can be as simple as using one’s admission of guilt. An example is apologizing to the other involved parties. Another is fleeing the crash scene, which doesn’t only indicate guilt but is also illegal.
The analysis of responding police officers can also determine fault. Law enforcers interview everyone involved when responding to a crash. The statements they record may reveal details that suggest or prove someone’s fault.
Law enforcers may also interview potential witnesses. These include other motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians who may have seen what happened. They may also be workers or customers of stores located in front of or near the crash site.
Videos captured by witnesses, traffic cameras, or CCTVs are also determiners. Indeed, they’re often the most substantial proof of someone’s responsibility in a crash. For example, they may show one of the involved drivers using their phone while driving.
In that case, the law would likely find that cell phone-using driver at fault. After all, cell phone use is a driving distraction that injures and kills thousands in the U.S. yearly. Its hand-held use is also illegal in many states.
Videos recorded by your car cameras, like dash, rear, side, and interior cams, can also help. You can even use them for documenting an auto accident injury that you’d later make a claim on. For example, an interior camera can show how the crash injured your face, neck, chest, or back.
Is Determining Fault Always Necessary?
No, because some states implement no-fault car insurance laws. There are 12 no-fault states, including Florida, Hawaii, and Kansas, to name a few.
In no-fault states, people who’ve been in an auto accident file a claim against their policies. Their insurance company then pays them a car accident settlement. The settlement covers medical expenses and lost income up to the policy’s limits.
However, no-fault states still require determining fault for incidents that cause property damages. So if someone wrecks your car in a crash in a no-fault state, you still need to prove it’s their fault.
Recover Compensation by Establishing Fault
And there you have it, all the possible answers to the question, “How is fault determined in a car accident?”
From apologies to interviews, witnesses, and videos, all these can help establish fault. They can help prove you’re a victim of someone else’s negligence. Thus, they’re vital in recovering the compensation you deserve for injuries and losses.
If you’re looking for more legal-related guides, we got you covered. For starters, check out our post on the types of personal injury cases you should know of!