Who Is At Fault for Your Collision?
After you’ve been involved in a car accident, the first thing your insurance carrier will need to do is prove who is at fault, or which party is liable. Proving who is at fault is crucial in determining compensation benefits. Below are some tips you can use to establish liability in your case.
Liability vs. Negligence
When determining proof of liability in a car accident, it’s important to distinguish the difference between liability and negligence.
- Liability is the legal responsibility someone has to do something. In this case that could mean paying damages for an accident where you were found at fault.
- Negligence is the failure to take proper care in doing something. While driving a motor vehicle, drivers are under a duty of care. A duty of reasonable care is the legal obligation of any person driving to know that certain actions should be taken to avoid harming another person.
Examples of reasonable care include:
- Stopping at a red light
- Maintaining speeds under posted speed limits
- Watching the road
- Yielding when necessary (i.e. bicyclists or pedestrians)
- Maintaining vehicle with required repairs
- Maintaining a safe distance behind the vehicle in front
- Distracted driving (texting, reading etc.)
If a defendant is determined to have breached the duty of reasonable care, then they may be found liable for the accident. It is possible that both drivers can be comparatively negligent. In other words, each party could hold a percentage of the negligence. If you’ve recently suffered injury resulting in loss of pay, extensive medical bills, and pain from a recent car accident, you need to the assistance of an experienced, attorney. Our Cincinnati car accident lawyers can help you.
Call us at (513) 232-2000 today to discuss your legal options with a member of our firm.
Using Police Reports to Show Liability
The first step most motorists take after being involved in an auto accident, is to alert the police. If the police were called to your accident scene, there is likely a police report on file. Police reports can contain some useful information when trying to prove which driver is at fault. For example, if one driver was arrested at the scene for operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, this could be used as solid proof for who is to blame.
The Police report may also contain detailed information regarding the scene of the accident such as location of damage done to the involved vehicles, any skid marks on the road, and possible witness statements.
You can request a copy of the report with the traffic division of the police department.
Looking to Local Traffic Laws
You could support for your argument by turning to the state traffic laws. Many state DMV’s have sections on their website where you can download a copy of the vehicle code or “Rules of the Road.” While reviewing the manual, look for any chapters or headings that could reference codes related to your accident. If you were on the highway when your accident occurred, perhaps search for “highway speed limits.”
“No Doubt” Liability
There are some accidents that insurance carriers consider “no doubt” liability accidents, meaning, the other driver is most likely at fault.
Some examples of “no doubt” liability include:
- Rear End Collisions: Legally, drivers are supposed to leave a safe distance of braking space between their car and the car ahead. In these types of collisions, the driver that crashed into the car ahead is almost always held liable. Keep in mind there are exceptions to this rule. For example if the driver ahead had not repaired broken tail or brake lights on their car, then they would be breaching their duty of reasonable care and could be determined at fault.
- Left Turn/T-Bone Accidents: In Cincinnati, drivers are required to yield to oncoming traffic. When drivers are involved in a left-turn or T-bone accident, it is almost always a failure to yield. For the most part, the damage left by the negligent driver, determines the cause and fault of the accident.
- DUI Accidents: When a motorist is operating a vehicle under the influence and gets into a crash, the insurance company of the drunk driver cannot reject your claim. While it is true that you should always contact the police if you’ve been in a car accident, it is especially true if you feel you may have been hit by a drunk driver.
Get the Compensation You Deserve
Navigating the complicated vehicle code and insurance policies can be exhausting. If you or your loved ones have suffered injuries from a recent car accident, Our Cincinnati personal injury lawyers can help you. The Moore Law Firm has been practicing law since 1932. With a proven team on your side, you can earn the compensation you deserve.