If you were in an accident, your version of events likely differs somewhat from that of the other driver. And unfortunately, when multiple parties are involved in a car accident, it’s common for each driver to try to place blame on the other. Regardless of what actually happened, both parties will naturally try to distance themselves from any liability for the accident.
Whether a small fender bender or a more serious crash, it’s critical to determine who is most at fault, especially if injuries are involved. That’s because this will dictate which party is legally responsible for paying for the other party’s losses. Determining fault by location of damage is one method that can be helpful in establishing liability.
How Determining Fault by Location of Damage Can Help
Your car accident attorney may use the help of an expert to establish fault. Many accident reconstruction specialists will examine the location of damage on each vehicle and then devise a theory as to how the crash occurred. Location of damage can help in establishing:
- where the actual accident occurred, and
- impact to both vehicles.
During an accident, when one car moves at a certain speed and in a specific direction, the force of the impact will cause a specific type of damage to each vehicle. An experienced accident reconstruction specialist knows exactly what to look for when surveying the scene of a crash. After inspecting the damage and location, the specialist will come up with possible scenarios that could have led to the accident. However, more importantly, the specialist will also rule out ways the accident could not have happened.
When Damage Shows Fault
Determining fault by location of damage often works best for rear-end collisions. Most states require that drivers maintain an adequate space between the car in front. Crashing into the rear-end of the car in front is therefore almost always the fault of the rear driver, because that driver failed to keep an adequate space between themselves and the front driver.
Accidents where a driver runs a red light and T-bones another vehicle is another common example of when you can more easily determine liability. In this example, the truth lies in the damage to the liable party’s front of vehicle. The non-negligent party can use the damage to the side of their vehicle as proof of their innocence.
When Damage Does Not Show Fault
Sometimes the location of damage is not enough to paint the entire picture. For example, let’s say one vehicle has damage to the front end and another vehicle has damage to the passenger side door. Though you can easily see there is damage, it’s harder to determine who had the right-of-way at the time of the crash. In such a situation, you must rely on other forms of evidence to prove who is at fault, such as eyewitness testimony.
Examining Other Car Accident Evidence
When damage is not enough to prove who is at fault, specialists will look towards other forms of evidence. Here are some other types of evidence they may look for:
- Tire marks around the scene of the accident
- Whether either party was driving under the influence or drugs or alcohol
- Weather conditions during the accident
- Speed and acceleration of all involved vehicles
It is vital that you know what to do after you’re involved in an accident. Document everything, take pictures and gather as much evidence as you can. Collect the contact information and names of those involved in the accident, as well as any eye witnesses. In addition, you should also call the police to get a report of the accident made.
Contact an Experienced Seattle WA Car Accident Attorney
Determining fault by location of damage can allow you to hold the at fault party accountable for your injuries. At Fielding Law Group, we have the knowledge and resources available to help you seek just compensation and recover your losses. Contact us today to speak with an experienced Seattle WA car accident attorney.