While it may seem clear to you that the other driver is at fault for your car accident, he or she may disagree. Sometimes another driver may disingenuously point the finger at you to attempt to get out of trouble for the accident, but in many cases, it may appear that the accident really was your fault from the other driver’s perspective.
Arguing or making accusatory statements at the scene usually just makes a bad situation worse. As a car accident lawyer from an office like the Law Firm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C. can explain, there are objective means of determining fault for a car accident that are much more constructive.
Unless there are no injuries and property damage is very, very minor, you should always call the police after a car accident. When the officer arrives, he or she usually asks you a lot of questions. After determining whether you are hurt and need transportation to the hospital, the officer will ask you to describe what happened in the accident. He or she will then use information from your account, other witness statements, and evidence from the scene to draw a conclusion about fault for the accident. This will be reflected in the report that the officer files at the police station.
After an accident, you should contact your insurance provider as soon as possible to help you file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. Your insurer will conduct an investigation looking at evidence from the scene, including the police report, to draw a conclusion over who was at fault.
Car accident lawsuits are usually settled out of court, but if they do go to trial, a jury has the responsibility to decide who is at fault based on the evidence presented. An alternative to litigating the matter in court or negotiating a settlement out of court is arbitration. This is like a less formal trial, presided over by an official called an arbitrator who will weigh the evidence and make a ruling. There is no jury in arbitration.
Sometimes a driver admits to fault for the accident. Sometimes this is unintentional; the driver offers up an explanation or apology not realizing that what he or she says may be used as evidence in a police report, insurance investigation, or legal proceeding that may be forthcoming following the accident. It is usually inadvisable for drivers to make any statements at the scene that could be interpreted as admissions of fault.
Determining fault for a car accident is a complicated process. One of our attorneys may be able to help you protect your interests through the process that follows. Contact our office to schedule a consultation.