How to prove who is at fault in a car accident case is a very important and crucial question. You must be able to prove, by the evidence, that the other driver was at least 50 percent at fault in causing the accident and your injuries. This needs to occur before you can recover any compensation for your personal injuries sustained in the accident. What happens if you are at fault in a car accident?
The first method of proving which driver is at fault in the car accident is through the drivers of the involved vehicles. A lot of car accidents are admitted fault accidents. For instance, one of the drivers will just simply admit to the law enforcement officer on scene that he or she caused the accident in question. Maybe the at fault driver will admit that he or she ran a red light or ran a stop sign. Maybe the at fault driver will admit that he or she was not paying attention and crossed over the center line causing the collision.
It may also be a situation where the at fault driver will admit that they were not paying attention and ran into the back of your car while it was stopped at the stop sign. So, usually, the law enforcement officer will after arriving on scene and check the medical status of the involved drivers. Then, they will interview the drivers to determine fault. If a driver admits fault, then the officer will conclude that the driver was at fault in the wreck.
But what happens if both drivers contest who was at fault in the wreck?
Law enforcement will then normally look to find any eye witnesses who may have seen what happened in the wreck.
Usually, there are some witnesses who saw the car accident. Therefore, law enforcement officers on scene will usually talk to witnesses and obtain from them their version of what happened in the accident. Based on these descriptions given by eye witnesses, a law enforcement officer will conclude who was at fault in the wreck.
Also, if you know of any witnesses, inform your lawyer, so that he or she can interview those witnesses. Your lawyer, through his own investigation, may be able to locate previously unknown witnesses who can shed light who was at fault in the accident as well.
In serious cases involving fatalities, a special investigative team will conduct an investigation into the facts of the car accident. From these facts, an Accident Reconstructionist can make conclusions as to what happened in the car wreck.
Also, even in cases that do not involve a fatality, an Accident Reconstructionist, usually hired by a lawyer representing a party to the wreck, can perform an investigation and reconstruct the accident. Thereafter, the Reconstructionist can relay his or her findings to counsel. An Accident Reconstructionist is an engineer who has been educated and trained in reconstructing car accidents.
It’s important to take pictures of the vehicles and the scene of the accident shortly after the accident has occurred. That way, if there were no witnesses to the accident, pictures can be used to help reconstruct what happened. Pictures can also be used to support your case. Consequently, they can also contradict or attack the other side’s case.
What happens if the officer concludes that you were at fault and you feel like you were not?
At the end of the day, it’s the jury that decides who was at fault based on the evidence presented at trial. Most police officers or state troopers are not allowed to testify about how the accident happened. They can only testify as to the fact their investigation uncovered. You may have a witness or other fact that the officer was not aware of or did not understand. In this case, a jury can hear that evidence and make the ultimate decision. Assuming that evidence is admissible in court under the rules of evidence.
Percentage of At Fault in a Car Accident
Also, South Carolina is a comparative negligence state. Meaning that even if you are up to half at fault, you can still make a recovery based on the percentage of your fault. For example, if you were 35% at fault, you can still recover, but your recovery would be reduced by 35%.
These are just some of the ways to prove who was at fault in a car accident case. Therefore, if you were in a motor vehicle accident, contact our Greenville car accident lawyer today to discuss your case. This is a very important first step in proving your case for personal injury. Our team is here to get you the compensation you deserve!