A serious car accident can upend your life in a single moment. And the burden of proving that you are not at fault for the accident can cause further stress and frustration.
The personal injury lawyers of Minton Law Firm can work to help you establish the facts of your case and navigate your legal options. We believe that every accident victim deserves fair and complete compensation for his or her losses.
Reach out to us today at 855-Xadjuster to schedule a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney.
Establishing Fault in a Car Accident Claim
In order to prove fault in a car accident claim, you will need to establish that the other driver was negligent. In a car accident case, the person found to have caused the crash is usually financially responsible, probably through his or her car insurance provider, for the resulting damages.
In order to prove the other driver’s negligence in a car accident insurance claim or in court, you will need to demonstrate the following:
- The law required the other person involved in the accident to be reasonably careful
- The other person failed to practice proper care
- You suffered injuries or personal losses
- Your injuries and losses were a direct result of the other person’s negligent behavior
Arkansas is considered to be a modified comparative negligence state. This means that if you are found to be at least 50 percent at fault in causing the accident, you are barred from recovering compensation for accident-related damages.
Factors for Determining Fault in a Car Accident
At times, it is crystal clear who was at fault for an accident. However, determining fault is sometimes anything but a straightforward process. It is not uncommon for two or more drivers to share some of the blame for causing the collision.
In determining fault, an insurance adjuster or court will consider the complete circumstances of the accident. This may include weather and road conditions, the physical and mental state of each driver, and other environmental factors.
Contributing factors that can mean a driver is at fault for a car accident may include:
- Driving under the influence: If one of the drivers was found to be intoxicated or otherwise impaired at the time of the accident, he or she will likely be found at fault. Drunk driving is against the law. Intoxicated drivers must be held responsible for the harm they inflict on others.
- Distracted driving: Texting while driving, trying to input something into the GPS, or even putting on makeup can easily result in a driver taking his or her attention off the road long enough to cause an accident.
- Driver fatigue: Drowsy driving can impair a person’s driving in a similar way to drunk driving. If a driver falls asleep at the wheel or has delayed reactions due to fatigue, he or she may cause a serious accident.
- Traffic infractions: Traffic rules and laws are in place to prevent collisions. If a driver received a traffic citation or ticket after the car accident, the insurance companies or court will likely consider this as proof that he or she did something wrong and thus caused, or significantly contributed to, the crash occurring.
An experienced car accident lawyer can help you gather and sort through all the evidence related to your car wreck. Presenting clear and compelling proof of the other driver’s fault in causing the accident will greatly improve your chances of resolving the accident claim in your favor.
Steps You Can Take to Help Prove You Are Not At Fault
Proving fault in a car accident is critical if you are seeking to recover compensation for your damages. This might mean proving the other driver’s negligence or disputing a finding that you were at fault for the crash.
There are many reasons why it is important to establish fault after a car wreck. Your ability to prove liability for the accident could impact the cost of your car insurance premiums, as well as your options for pursuing a personal injury lawsuit down the road.
The following are some steps you can take to help determine fault in the aftermath of a car accident.
Document the accident scene
Take pictures, and video if possible, at the scene of the accident. Document the vehicle damage, as well as the surrounding area. The physical damage and the position of all involved vehicles could indicate how the accident occurred.
By taking plenty of pictures at the scene, you may be able to assist your car accident lawyer piece together how the accident happened. For example, your photos may indicate that a rear driver hit you or that the other driver ran a red light or stop sign.
Photos of the accident can be vital pieces of evidence. In the event that you are too shaken up or injured to take pictures, try to ask a bystander to take them for you.
Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver
It is important to exchange contact information with everyone who was involved in the car crash. You will want to take down the names, phone numbers, and driver’s license information of the other drivers.
Make sure to get the car insurance company name and policy number of each driver. If multiple cars were involved, take down the license plate numbers of each.
You will need all of the above information when you file your car accident claim with the insurance company.
Collect eyewitness contact information
Try to get the contact information of anyone who may have witnessed the accident take place. Third-party eyewitness testimony can be invaluable in proving that a negligent driver was truly at fault in a traffic accident.
It is wise to get the contact information even of a person who did not see the car accident take place but came onto the scene immediately afterward. He or she may be able to provide valuable information for your case, such as the road and weather conditions at the time of the collision, as well as the injuries and behavior of those who were involved in the crash.
Get a copy of the police report
When a police officer responds to a car accident, he or she will likely interview you, the other driver, and anyone else who may have witnessed the accident take place. The police officer will then write an accident report, documenting what occurred.
The report may include the responding police officer’s opinion that a driver committed one or more traffic violations, thereby causing the accident. It is important to get a copy of the official police report for the accident when you are attempting to prove or dispute fault for a car wreck.
The law enforcement agency, your lawyer, or insurance adjuster can help you to obtain a copy of the police report.
Obtain traffic camera footage
More and more often, major roadways and intersections have traffic cameras installed. These cameras are in place to record traffic violations and hold at-fault drivers responsible for their negligent behavior.
Traffic camera footage often assists in establishing the circumstances that led up to the car crash and proving fault in an insurance claim or car accident lawsuit.
Research your local traffic laws
Traffic laws come into play in most car accident cases. For instance, the at-fault driver may have been speeding, run a red light or stop sign, or he or she may have made an illegal left turn.
Arkansas motor vehicle and traffic laws can be found online. Focus your research on the specific traffic laws that may have had a bearing on your car accident. By researching and understanding the applicable traffic laws, you may be able to prove that the other driver caused the car crash.
Seek immediate medical treatment
If you sustained even minor injuries in the car accident, it is in your best interest to see a doctor as soon as possible after the wreck. Immediately addressing your injuries may help ensure the best treatment plan and result in a shorter recovery period.
Medical records detailing the extent of your injuries and the impact they have on your quality of life are also needed to properly support an injury claim.
Do not admit fault for the accident
Accident scenes are often hectic and emotionally charged. It can be nerve-wracking to speak with the other driver, police officers, or insurance companies.
It is important to remember that what you say at the accident scene can have a direct impact on the outcome of any accident claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Never admit fault for the accident. Even the suggestion that you may have been at fault for the crash will weaken your credibility going forward. Don’t post details of your accident on the internet or social media either.
As a rule of thumb, keep the particulars of the car accident between you and your personal injury lawyer.
Inform your own insurance company of the car accident
When you are in any kind of car accident, it is important to let your insurer know right away. The insurance company needs to know about any incident that may trigger coverage or lead to filing a personal injury or damages claim.
Hire a car accident attorney
An experienced accident lawyer is the advocate you need to prove that you are not at fault for a car crash. A personal injury attorney can go to bat for you by collecting evidence and submitting documentation to prove your case.
If need be, your lawyer can take on the other driver’s insurance company in order to fairly resolve your accident claim.
Potential Compensation in a Car Accident Claim
Under Arkansas comparative negligence law, in a car accident case, you may be eligible for compensation if you are found to be less than 50 percent at fault for the accident.
Accident losses can range in severity and may involve a totaled vehicle, debilitating physical injuries, and emotional pain and suffering. A personal injury lawyer can help you identify all the losses you have suffered and what type of compensation you may be eligible to pursue.
Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may qualify to attain restitution for:
- Cost of current and future medical bills
- Past, present, and future lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Out-of-pocket expenses related to or as a result of the accident
- Emotional pain and anguish
- Reduced quality of life
The extent of your damages and the amount of responsibility you bear can directly affect the amount of compensation you can receive. The more serious your accident, the higher likelihood of significant damages.
The understanding and supportive lawyers at Minton Law Firm can assess the extent of your damages in order to pursue a fair settlement agreement.
Contact Experienced Car Accident Lawyers for Help
Serious auto accidents can leave you suffering physically and reeling emotionally. At times, it can be difficult to determine fault in an auto collision.
Trying to navigate the insurance and legal system can be an exhausting and exasperating experience. The car accident lawyers of Minton Law Firm can help you through every step of the process.
If you find yourself needing to prove fault for the accident, you do not have to go it alone. Our legal team is dedicated to fighting for the rights of Arkansas car accident and injury victims.
As a former insurance adjuster himself, Attorney Justin Minton knows the ins and outs of the insurance industry. If the insurance company denies your claim, he is especially equipped to challenge their decision and has made sure his legal team members are also ready to handle the complications.
At Minton Law Firm, the future well-being of each of our clients is a priority. Once we take your case, we will work tirelessly to help you achieve the fullest financial and physical recovery possible.
We believe that every accident victim deserves strong legal representation.
Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, so we do not charge any upfront costs or fees. You only have to pay us if and when your car accident case is successfully resolved and you get money for your claim.
Call us today at 855-Xadjuster or complete our contact form to schedule a free case review. A member of our legal team is standing by to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.