Who’s at fault? What’s at Second?

Oct. 6th, 2011   /   , , ,

Who’s at fault? What’s at Second?

Car accidents can, above all else, be downright dumbfounding.  Amid the tears, out-of-pocket expenses, and complications that arise from a motor vehicle crash, nothing can be more mind-boggling than the stacks of insurance and legal documentation surrounding every car case in which someone involved retains an attorney – or doesn’t, and then things get even more complicated.  One of the most important parts of post-accident recuperation is being compensated for a loss you’ve experienced.  Paramount to hashing out the details is being able to prove who was at fault in the accident – showing who is liable for the damages.

It may be entirely obvious to the involved parties exactly who was at fault in the crash.  Many times, following an accident, a driver will emerge from his or her car and say something like, “I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you.  My insurance will cover this.”  That’s all fine and dandy, but it means nothing to insurance companies who make a profit out of keeping their money, not giving it away.  Be realistic: they’re for-profit corporations, not charitable organizations.  They’re not there to sing “Kumbaya” to the people involved in the car accident.  They want to keep as much of their money as they possibly can so they don’t care how obvious it might seem that their insured was at fault.  To be compensated for your loss in an accident, you must prove fault, and to prove fault, you need evidence.  Official evidence can be found in numerous areas, such as police reports and state traffic laws.

Police reports often name the “at fault” driver first in their listing of involved parties.  Moreover, at the end of the police report, you will find a section where the police at the scene of the accident may make a note of the “at fault” driver.  The police may also have issued a citation to the negligent driver, citing them for one of many possible infractions (such as “failure to yield,” “failure to observe stop sign,” etc.)  Police reports are essential to making your case to an insurance company.  The police are the first legal enforcers to respond to an accident scene, and their report is highly important throughout all stages of pre-litigation between lawyers and the insurance companies.  In fact, most insurance companies will be lackadaisical about your claim until they have received a police report.

State traffic laws can also be immensely helpful in helping to prove who was at fault in an auto accident.  There are strictly defined rules in each state that mandate how drivers are to conduct themselves when operating their motor vehicles on public roadways.  If a driver has breached one of those laws, they can more easily be held liable for the accident because they broke a law in doing so – that is to say that if they had abided by the law, the crash wouldn’t have occurred in the first place.  State traffic laws are easy to locate; like everything else, they’re located on the internet.  Being part of the public domain, they’re accessible to you and can aid you in helping to prove your case.

Now, there are some accidents which even the insurance companies won’t argue too much about.  Two major types of car crashes have assumed blame of one party and the insurance companies will, when working on those cases, try to settle immediately because if the case were to go to a jury trial, the plaintiff would almost always win.  Rear-end accidents, as most people know, are almost always the fault of the driver in the back.  This is because, per government regulations, drivers are supposed to maintain a safe following distance, and a rear-end accident is fairly clear evidence of failure to maintain a reasonable amount of space between the vehicles.  Another common accident such as this is a left-turn accident.  This is when a driver makes a left turn and is struck by another car.  Almost always, in these instances, the driver making the left turn is at fault.  That is, of course, they have a left-turn arrow and the opposing traffic has a red light.  But almost exclusively, if you are turning left into traffic and you get hit, it’s your fault.

These are some things to be aware of as you deal with the aftermath of an auto accident, should be unfortunate enough to have been involved in one.  If you have any questions or comments, please contact the Law Offices of Aronberg & Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or email us at daronberg@aronberglaw.com.

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