Determining Who Is at Fault in an Auto Accident
Determining who is legally responsible in an auto accident requires identifying who the negligent party is.
In most cases, common sense can be used to determine fault, but often drivers do not know exactly which laws were broken by the at-fault party. This makes it more difficult to prove a case to an insurer when making a claim.
There are a few places to look for this supportive information.
If you or the other party called the police or 911 after the accident to report injuries, there will be a police report.
If that’s the case, you can contact your local law enforcement traffic division to ask for a copy of the report.
Many police reports contain a responding officer’s opinion about who was at fault. If one party clearly violated any laws, the officer will write that in the report.
Typically, any mention of the other party breaking traffic laws will be enough to sway your insurer that you were not at fault.
As backup, you can search your state traffic laws to find out if the other party violated the law.
You can often find information on the DMV website, or you can get a copy of the driver handbook that will typically outline most instances of traffic violations. The handbooks include language that is written in laymen’s terms so they are easy to understand.
Law school libraries and local public libraries may have more detailed versions of these codes.
In some accidents, the other driver is almost always considered at fault.