How To Tell Who Is At Fault In A Car Accident

In the aftermath of a car accident, the driver at fault is identified by who was driving their vehicle carelessly or recklessly. In some cases, it is easy to determine the driver who was at fault, however, there are cases where this process is more challenging.

If the insurance company for the driver of the other vehicle denies blame, you will then need to gather proof to show that the accident wasn't caused by you. 

Finding who is responsible for the cause of the accident is often taken out of the hands of both parties involved and is instead decided by insurance companies, law enforcement agencies, and in some instances the courts.

There are several ways of proving who is liable for the accident and any damage caused to vehicles as a result and this evidence must be preserved before being presented to those responsible for resolving the claim.

There are also certain scenarios and settings where accidents commonly occur and certain factors will decide which party is at fault.

How To Tell Who Is At Fault In A Car Accident

The Damage To The Vehicle

The damage that both vehicles have endured can be the most telling way of identifying who was driving carelessly. Of course, it is going to depend on the type of road that you were driving through.

For example, if you are driving into a residential area and a car pulls out of their driveway hitting the middle region of your vehicle, it is likely that the driver of the other vehicle either wasn't paying attention or didn't assess the road properly before pulling out causing them to come into direct contact with your vehicle.

However, if the front of your vehicle suffered the damage this suggests that it was in fact you who failed to acknowledge that the driver of the other vehicle had already begun to pull out into the road, instead causing you to bump into them. 

Gathering Evidence 

Witness Statements

If the collision occurred in an area where passersby or other vehicles witnessed it unfold, testimonials will often be gathered from individuals and other drivers who saw what happened.

If it was a serious accident that is being discussed in court, they may also gather testimonials from police officers who investigated the scene where the accident happened and also other professionals such as doctors. 

Dashcam Footage

Many insurance companies now accept dashcam footage when investigating who was at fault in a collision.

Depending on the nature of the accident, the footage captured on a dashcam will often show which driver was driving their vehicle carelessly resulting in impact with the other vehicle. 

Police Reports

The police report will contain details regarding any violations held against the driver of the vehicle and it will also show the perspective of the police officer regarding who they deem to be the cause of the accident.

Obtaining a copy of the police report will provide you with valuable evidence in proving who is liable.

 If there isn’t a police officer present on the scene, it is worth visiting the station with the driver of the other vehicle (if they want to go) informing them of the situation so that they can record all of the details. 

Taking Photographs Of The Scene

If you have been involved in an accident that wasn't your fault, it can be helpful to gather evidence that proves that you were not the cause of the collision.

Doing so in the immediate stages following the accident is necessary because once the scene has been cleared this evidence is going to be much more difficult to come by.

Take photographs of the scene remembering to capture any road signs that show which vehicle had the right of way and the direction where both vehicles came from. Also, capture photographs that show the damage that has been sustained by the vehicles.

Violation of Traffic Laws

If the driver has been seen violating traffic laws, e.g. cutting through lanes and running a red light, they are likely to be seen as the driver who is primarily responsible for causing the accident, and as a result, they will be liable.

However, unfortunately, this isn't always the case. In some cases, a reckless driver who has been cutting in and out of lanes may cause the cars behind them to have to slam on their breaks and as a result, this may cause a rear-end collision involving the cars behind them.

Although this accident was caused by the careless actions of the driver who was cutting in between lanes, the driver who slammed on their brakes but failed to stop in time will instead be at fault. 

A Rear-End Collision

In the event of a rear-end collision, the driver who crashed into the vehicle in front of them is typically held accountable, the reason being that the nature of this type of accident suggests that the driver failed to leave the correct amount of distance between themselves and the vehicle in front. 

Accidents That Occur In Car Parks

Many factors can determine who is at fault should an accident occur in a car park. First, you will need to establish who had the right of way. If it was your right of way but the driver of the other vehicle proceeds to drive towards you then they are of course going to be deemed liable.

There are also instances where drivers of both vehicles may be seen as the cause of the accident. If both drivers are trying to park in the same space, they will both be seen as responsible because they were both trying to maneuver their vehicles into the same spot.

However, if one vehicle is approaching from a direction where they have the right of way, they will be seen as less responsible. 

Final Thoughts

Ultimately the driver who is at fault will be determined by the insurance companies, police, or jury supported by the accumulation of evidence that was gathered from the scene, witnesses, police officers, and the damage that each of the vehicles sustained.

If you are being held to blame for an accident that you don’t feel you were liable for you may hire the help of an attorney who can provide support or guidance.

As mentioned, the driver at fault in some accidents is much easier to identify than others. It often depends on the layout of the road, who has right of way, and also the carelessness of the drivers involved.