Who is at fault for a car accident is probably the most important part of any car accident. So who is to blame, you or the other driver?
Who is at fault is relevant to each party in an accident. If you are at fault your insurance premium might rise, and no one wants that. If you are not at fault, you want to know who you should be talking to about the damages to your car or your injuries.
Sometimes Who Is At Fault For An Accident Is Hard To Determine, Evidence Is Needed.
Everything begins and depends on the evidence gathered. This evidence gathering begins the instant the accident happens. This means taking pictures of the accident scene, getting witness information, driver information, any statements made at the scene, and reporting the accident to the police.
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words.
The more pictures you take, the better off you will be. Pictures of your car or the scene of the accident puts the Jury right there. With pictures the Jury can see the damage, they can see the road, and they can see it all as if it they were right there. Lawyers can do a lot, but nothing paints a picture, quite like a picture.
Everything You Say Is A Potential Disaster.
Do not admit fault, whether verbally or otherwise to the other driver. Car accidents are unsettling, which makes it very tempting to say “I’m sorry” to the other driver, in an attempt to calm yourself or the other drive down. Resist the temptation! If you say “I’m sorry,” you have just assumed fault for this accident, even if you did nothing to cause it.
On top of that, whatever you said will likely be repeated to the Jury. Don’t make it harder on yourself. Leave the determination of fault to those who are tasked with the responsibility to determine it, like the police, insurance companies, and jurors.
Call The Police.
If you are in an accident, call the police. A police report is the first tool used to determine fault. The report itself will not be shown or read to the Jury, but an attorney will use it to establish fault or undermine fault. Even if you think you are not hurt, call the police and report the accident.
What Does That Have To Do With A Jury?
A Jury is charged with determining who is at fault or in legal terms who was the negligent party. The Jury is trying to determine whether the other party engaged in careless conduct or behavior and if that conduct or behavior caused the accident. This determination is not accomplished by just figuring at who caused the accident.
To succeed with the Jury, five elements must be proven:
1. Is There A Duty Owed? A driver owes a duty to other drivers on the road. For example each driver owes a duty to other drivers and pedestrians to drive safely. Another example is each driver has a duty to follow the rules of the road, be it traffic lights, road signals, etc., and each driver owes other drivers the duty to conform and follow those rules.
2. Has There Been A Breach Of Duty? Simple, if that driver was not driving safely or following the rules of the road, this element is met.
3. Was the Breach the “But For” Cause? You must show that “but-for” the other driver running into the back of your car, you would not have been injured.
4. Was It Foreseeable That the Action Would Cause Injury? This is legally known as proximate cause. To show this, you have to show you were in the “zone of danger.” In other words, it was likely for you to get hurt based on the conduct of the other driver.
5. Did You Suffer Damages? There has to be some showing that you have suffered damages. This means showing you have undergone medical treatment, incurred medical bills, experienced pain and suffering, and have property damage.
Evidence must be presented to the Jury to satisfy each of the five elements. This is what your attorney will do. He or she will work-up your case so that the evidence that has been gathered and presented will satisfy each element.