When involved in a car accident, one of the first questions you will ask yourself is, who is at fault? This question matters a lot because the driver at fault bears the financial burden of the injuries and damage resulting from the car accident through their insurance company. Being the at-fault driver in a car accident adds demerit points to your driving record, causes your insurance premiums to rise, and can leave you with criminal charges if you were a negligent driver, for instance, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Why proving fault matters
The issue of fault arises when dealing with the insurance adjuster after the accident, and if you can’t reach a viable car agreement settlement, you have to prove fault in a car accident lawsuit. Every state follows a fault system for determining financial liability in car accident claims.
In Texas, the at-fault driver’s insurance company has to pay for the economic and non-economic losses of the other drivers, passengers, or anyone else hurt in the accident. When dealing with a car accident claim or lawsuit, proving fault means determining negligence.
If you and the other driver share fault for the accident, you might share the liability under contributory or comparative negligence defense—the amount of liability your party depends on your fault. Suppose a driver is at fault for making a wrong turn and you were overspeeding to the extent you hit their car. In that case, they might pay 80% of the losses, and you, on the other hand, pay 20% of the losses for overspeeding.
Aspects of proving fault
According to lawyers from the Dallas, TX car accident law firm, various aspects come into play when proving fault in a car accident lawsuit. You have to establish the following:
- A duty of care existed, or the law requires the at-fault driver to be reasonably careful.
- The at-fault person was not careful or violated their duty of care. For instance, when a driver over speeds or disregards the traffic rules, they have violated their duty of care towards other motorists.
- Their negligent behavior caused your injuries.
- You suffered losses such as physical injuries, car damage, and lost income.
You can only prove fault by reviewing the traffic laws of the state and presenting sufficient car accident evidence, including:
- Police reports- when an officer shows up at the accident scene, they write a police report. It may include the officer’s opinion of who violated which traffic laws led to the accident.
- Vehicle damage- the location of the damage can reveal who was at fault.
- Witnesses from the scene of the accident may provide testimonies.
- Pictures and videos from the accident scene can help in proving fault.
- Traffic laws also help in proving fault.
As you can see, proving fault in a car accident claim or lawsuit can be complicated, which is where an experienced car accident attorney comes in. They can help you navigate the complexities of the case.
The success or failure of a car accident claim often depends on the ability of the claimant to prove fault for the crash.