When it comes to personal injury claims, it is essential to figure who is at fault or “liable” for causing the accident that resulted in injury to another. Car accident cases are no exception. When you determine who was at fault for causing a car accident, you have determined who will be held liable for compensating those injured as a result of the accident. Here, we will discuss how to actually go about proving liability in a car accident case.
Proving Liability in Car Accident Cases
Proving liability in car accident cases relies on presenting evidence that the negligent action or inaction of someone else caused the accident that injured others. Without evidence, it can easily turn into a he-said-she-said situation. One of the most commonly relied upon pieces of evidence in car accident cases to prove liability is a police report. Usually, when an accident results in injury, police are called to the accident scene and an official accident report is generated as a result.
In the police report, the reporting officer may have explicitly determined who was at fault for causing the accident. In other cases, the officer may simply state that one driver violated a particular traffic law and then an accident occurred, which could substantiate a claim that the person who violated the traffic law was the cause of the accident. The accident report will also usually state if any traffic citations were issued. Any mention of traffic violations or carelessness can be used to substantiate a claim regarding liability.
Witness testimony is also commonly presented in car accident cases to prove liability. This is why should you ever be involved in an accident, you should make a point to collect witness names and contact information. Witnesses can corroborate what happened at the accident scene to show who was at fault for causing the accident. Similarly, red light cameras and nearby security camera footage can also be presented as proof regarding liability.
In some cases, expert witnesses may be called in to give their opinion regarding what happened at the accident scene and who caused the accident. Some of these experts are referred to as accident reconstruction experts. They will use things like property damage to vehicles and skid marks present at the accident scene to recreate what happened.
An accident reconstructionist may offer the following:
- Litigation support
- Trial preparation consulting
- Deposition and courtroom testimony
- Pre-deposition support
- CMV crash investigation, analysis and re-creation
- CMV post crash FMCSA truck and motorcoach inspections
- Cargo-tank truck crashes, spills and explosions
- Cargo-tank loading/offloading incidents (Loading Rack)
- Driver hours-of-service; fatigue driving
- Distracted driving
- Driver qualification files
- Highway construction zone crashes
- CMV loading and off-loading investigation
- Industrial trucks/lift trucks
- FMCSA/PHMSA Driver and Management Training
In some accidents, proving liability is easier than under other circumstances. For instance, with rear-end collisions, it is almost always presumed that the person who hit the vehicle's rear end was at fault for causing the accident. This is because it is a basic rule of the road that drivers be able to come to a safe stop behind other vehicles.
Left-turn accidents are also generally easier to prove liability as it is almost always the car making the left turn who is held liable for causing the accident with a vehicle coming straight from the other direction. There are some exceptions to this general rule. For instance, an oncoming car that is driving at excessive speeds or an oncoming car that went through a red light may be held liable for the left turn accident.
New York City Personal Injury Attorney
Michael J. Redenburg, Esq. P.C. has the knowledge and experience to pursue those who cause traffic accidents leading to others sustaining injuries. If you have been injured in a car accident, reach out to his office today. We are here to fight for you. Contact our office today.