Understanding how to prove you are not at fault in a car accident can help improve your chances of winning your personal injury case. To prove you are not liable for a car crash, you must provide adequate evidence showing that the other driver’s negligence caused the accident. You will need to document the accident scene, obtain accident or police reports, gather witness testimony, and review local traffic codes and regulations. You also need to get medical treatment immediately and obtain copies of your medical records.
To help set you up for success, you should involve a car accident lawyer from the start. The lawyer can help you compile evidence that you can present during an insurance or legal proceeding to show you are not liable for the accident. The state where the accident happened and the fault system of that state determines the degree of fault.
How Fault Is Determined in a Car Accident Case
Evidence and witnesses are an essential part of determining liability in car accidents. Footage of traffic cameras near the accident may show who was at fault for the crash if fault cannot be established at the accident scene. Pictures of the accident scene can be helpful as well. Police on the scene can review the available evidence and assign liability. Physical evidence like skid marks, bodily injuries, and paint transfers can help identify the at-fault party in a car crash.
Fault vs. No-Fault States
The rules and regulations in place for where the accident occurred determine fault and damages. States follow a fault or no-fault system when it comes to car accidents.
If you reside in a fault-based state like Nevada and get into an accident caused by another driver, you will have to file a claim with the liable driver’s insurance company. This claim helps you recover damages, such as medical costs, lost wages or earnings, vehicle damage, pain and suffering, and other losses.
At-fault states also allow you to legally contest the insurance company’s decision to deny your claim. This rule applies if the grounds for the claim denial are unjustifiable or the insurance company acted in bad faith.
In no-fault states, drivers must carry insurance to pay for the expenses and losses arising from their injuries and damages. In other words, every party must file an accident claim with his or her insurance carrier, regardless of who caused the crash. No-fault states require drivers to add Person Injury Protection (PIP) or similar plans to their auto insurance policies.
Proving the Other Driver Was At Fault
Did you know that human error is responsible for 90% of road accidents? This statistic shows that someone is usually at-fault in most car accidents. If you were involved in an accident caused by someone else, the following steps would help you prove the other driver was at fault.
Document the Scene of the Crash
Gather as much evidence as possible from the crash scene. This evidence helps you show that the other driver was liable for the crash. If you can, take as many photos of the crash scene as possible.
If you cannot take pictures yourself because of your injuries, request a bystander to do it for you. Ensure you take pictures up-close and from a distance. The pictures should capture all traffic signs, road conditions, vehicle debris, skid marks, and other details that might explain how the accident occurred.
If possible, document the damage to the car at the crash scene. The damage location can be instrumental in identifying the at-fault party. A rear-end damage, for instance, indicates the other driver (rear driver) could be at fault.
Exchange Information with the Involved Party (or Parties)
Exchange information with the other driver and anyone else involved in the crash. Get names, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, physical addresses, email addresses, auto insurance providers, and policy numbers. Record license plate numbers of any cars involved in the accident as well. This information comes in handy when you file an accident claim.
Nevada law requires you to exchange information with the other driver after an accident. You must stop your vehicle at the accident scene, even if you’re not at fault.
Get a Copy of the Police Report
You must notify the police if you get into an accident that results in injury or death. The responding law enforcement officer talks to all involved parties and compiles a report of what transpired.
The police report includes the details of the crash and the thoughts of the responding officer regarding who was responsible. This report is a crucial piece of evidence during negotiations with insurance companies. It is also admissible in courts during legal proceedings. Be sure to obtain your copy from the investigating officer.
Obtain Witness Testimony
If there are any impartial witnesses to the crash, approach them and note their contact information. Request them to describe the events leading to the accident in writing. Neutral witnesses can offer useful, impartial testimony that can help prove that the other driver is the at-fault party.
Research and Analyze Your State’s Traffic Laws
Violation of traffic laws and poor driving cause thousands of car crashes annually. In fact, several recent studies reveal that Nevada drivers are some of the worst in the nation.
Familiarizing yourself with your state’s traffic statutes can help you figure out who was liable for your accident. Most states have a “Vehicle Code” consisting of all traffic rules and regulations. Motor vehicle departments in some states have compiled all the traffic statutes into a book. You can find these resources at public libraries or online.
Look for traffic statutes that apply to your specific accident. Check these statutes against the facts of your accident, such as failure to yield, drunk driving, and running a stop sign. Try to build a case to show that the other driver violated a traffic law and caused your accident. Working with a car accident lawyer can help you bypass the research process and obtain the evidence to prove the other driver was at fault.
Obtain Prompt Medical Treatment
Seek immediate medical attention if you feel any pain or discomfort after a car accident. Your doctor will detect and treat any accident-related injuries or medical conditions. You’ll also obtain medical documents to prove that you sought immediate medical treatment after the accident. These medical records describe the type and severity of your injuries. They also explain how those injuries will impact your life. For these reasons, medical records help you build a strong injury claim.
Be Conversant with “No Doubt” Liability Accidents
No-Doubt liability accidents refer to obvious traffic violations where it’s easy to determine the liable party. Rear-end collisions, impaired driving, running a red light, and speeding accidents are some examples of no doubt liabilities. Determining the at-fault party in a no-doubt liability accident still depends on the facts of your accident and the compiled evidence.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help Prove Fault
Bills and expenses tend to pile up quite fast after a car crash. You may incur medical bills due to your injuries, and lost wages may stem from your inability to work. You may also incur repair costs if there were damages to your car. If you are in this situation, you might be wondering how a car accident lawyer can maximize your settlement. Your lawyer can employ various proven strategies to prove the other driver’s liability and help you obtain maximum compensation. These strategies include:
Reviewing Traffic Camera Footage
If your car accident occurred near a traffic camera, your lawyer could obtain the footage. The lawyer can then review it to determine if the other driver performed reckless maneuvers. Incorrectly changing lanes, failing to yield, and speeding are some examples of reckless or illegal maneuvers.
Obtaining Drug Test Results
The police might have conducted a drug test if they suspected the other driver was impaired. Your lawyer can get a copy of this drug test result to determine whether the other party was intoxicated at the time of the crash.
Checking the other Driver’s Driving History
The other driver’s driving record may sometimes be full of traffic law violations and car accidents. Your lawyer may use this poor record to strengthen your case against the other driver.
Using Subpoenas to Obtain Information
Your accident lawyer can use a subpoena to acquire the cellphone records of the other party. The lawyer can review this information to see if the other driver was on a phone call or texting right before the crash. Nevada law prohibits the use of a cellphone for any communication while driving.
Obtaining Car Black Box Data
Newer cars may feature black boxes that record data on the car’s performance in real-time. They can collect and store information regarding the car’s speed before the accident. Your accident lawyer can obtain and review this information to determine the car’s condition and performance when the crash happened. This information could be valuable in helping you understand who is at-fault in a driverless car wreck.
Acquiring the Required Evidence of Damages
Getting all medical documents of your injuries is crucial. Obtaining these documents from medical providers is often a challenging and time-consuming task. While you have the right to access these documents, medical providers don’t always get them to you on time. Your lawyer can make the necessary follow-up calls to the medical provider to help you obtain these records.
Your lawyer can review these records to ensure they reflect the specifics of the accident. Your medical records may, for instance, indicate that you were driving 45 mph, but the police report indicates that you were going 35 mph. The lawyer can identify and rectify these inconsistencies to avoid legal pitfalls down the road.
The lawyer can check the medical provider’s notes to see whether they use the right terms to describe the type and extent of your injuries. If not, the lawyer may request that your medical provider write a special letter explaining the provider’s unbiased assessment of the link between the accident and your injuries or disability. The provider can also explain how the injuries will affect your life.