When you’re in a collision with another motorist, the first thing you want to know is who is to blame. The person who is found to be at fault is the one whose insurance has to pay, and if no insurance is available, that person is open to being sued in court. Fortunately, there are many ways to determine fault.
How is fault determined after an accident?
Witnesses at the scene may talk to police about the accident to tell them what they saw, or you may have a video camera in your vehicle that records you while you drive, so you can show the other driver’s negligence. Sometimes, there are traffic cameras that have video of the accident. Other times, it’s your word against the word of the driver, so the police have to take statements and allow an investigation to determine what happened.
What about if the other driver was behaving negligently?
One thing that you need to know is that if the other driver was negligent and fault is in question, then that driver will nearly always be to blame. For example, if you and a driver get into an accident at a four-way stop with no witnesses, it’s your word against his or hers. However, if the police do a breathalyzer test and show that the other driver was drunk at the time of the crash, it’s more likely that the drunk driver will be found to be at fault. Driving drunk is also illegal, so that driver could face criminal charges on top of any civil claims you file. Your attorney can use this information when helping you negotiate for a settlement.
Source: FindLaw, “Fault and Liability for Motor Vehicle Accidents,” accessed March 16, 2017