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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

Guide to Car Accidents: Determining Fault by Location of Damage

A car crash can be a traumatic and complex occurrence. However, there are many ways to determine who was to blame for the collision, which helps to simplify the process. The location of damage on a vehicle is often used to prove car accident fault and determine the recovery claim. Generally, the location of damage is a crucial indicator of who was responsible for the accident and how it happened.

Since this is one of several factors to consider, it's vital to understand how to use this evidence and when it can be used to get a successful outcome in a car accident case. Here's how many legal experts determine disputing fault in a car accident case by location of damage.

However, no-fault states are an exception to the rule; injured drivers in these areas will file a claim with their individual car insurance providers, regardless of who caused the crash.

Why Determining Car Accident Fault Is Crucial

Why Determining Car Accident Fault Is Crucial

Determining who was to blame in a car crash is crucial because it usually determines who would be financially liable for any injuries or other losses brought on by the collision.

The person who caused the accident is usually responsible for damage to the vehicle or personal injury. Most of the time, the at-fault driver's car insurance provider will compensate the victim. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can give insight on fault in chain reaction car accidents as well.

When Car Accident Damage Determines Fault

Car accident damage can often be a strong indicator of fault. In a rear-end accident, for example, the first car's back bumper and the second car's front end both sustain damage. The damage is convincing proof that the second automobile didn't allow enough room to stop in time.

A T-bone or side-impact collision at an intersection would be a more complicated scenario. The front end of the car passing through the intersection is damaged. Furthermore, the passenger’s side door of the car making the turn at the junction also sustains damage. In this instance, the damage's position doesn't always indicate who caused the accident. This is because it can be difficult to determine which driver had the right of way at the intersection.

Nevertheless, it's still possible to examine the damage to see whether there are any indications that either driver attempted to evade the incident. The direction of impact of the damage may differ from where it would have been if the motorist had been heading straight through the junction at the time of impact, for instance, if they had taken evasive action and rotated their wheel right before the collision.

Finding out which drivers were paying attention at the time of the accident and what preventative efforts they took to try and avoid the crash or lessen the effect can be done by looking directly at the angles of the damage. Accident damage can often be subtle. Therefore, if an individual decides to file a car accident claim, an expert accident reconstructionist may help them assess the damage to the vehicles.

How to Determine Car Accident Fault by Location of Damage

When determining who is at fault in a car accident based on where the damage is, it's vital to first consider where each vehicle was in the seconds leading up to the collision. After that, the region of damage will be used to identify the crash's most likely causes and rule out any less likely ones.

The position of the damage, for instance, can indicate whether one of the vehicles failed to maintain a safe following distance or whether one of the drivers made an attempt to swerve to avoid the collision. When deciding who is at fault in a motor vehicle collision, damage to the cars may be decisive and identify fault completely, or it may simply tell part of the story.

Speed and Car Accident Damage

By providing proof of the speed of the vehicles when the collision happened, the location of the damage can also play a significant role in determining who was responsible for the car accident. Many injuries are often caused by speed. The degree of injuries and damages rises rapidly as impact speed increases.

It's possible to obtain information about the speed of the vehicles at the time of the collision by examining the location of the damages, particularly the depth of impact and extent of damage on each of the cars. The speed of the cars at the time the accident took place can be accurately determined by trained accident experts.

How to Use Property Damage to Prove a Car Accident Case

Accident damage is useful in determining car accident fault as it shows how the car crash occurred or could've occurred. This evidence can be very useful at trial and can be presented as evidence in various ways. The most common way is to present images of the vehicle damage to the court.

Additionally, a qualified reconstruction expert can testify and inform the jury of the significance of the damage's location. They assist the jury in making the connection between the site of the property damage and the cause of the collision. However, to draw judgments based on the evidence, the expert must fully investigate and examine the case's facts.

How to Preserve Evidence of Damage

It's useful to keep track of the damage in order to take advantage of the damage's location to establish who was at fault in a car crash and how the accident occurred. In this way, the opposing side is unable to accuse the claimant of lying or recalling events incorrectly. Always take pictures of the damage at the scene of the accident. Make sure to take images of all angles of both vehicles involved in the collision. This is the best way to ensure that the insurance company has no ammunition against the claimant.

Documenting the Damage

It's vital to take pictures of all the vehicles involved in an accident. Taking pictures of the road's skid marks and any other surrounding conditions is also recommended. If there is debris, knowing where it is can be useful in building a case. It's also much easier for a legal team to understand the accident scene if they have a full picture of it.

Getting an Inspection

It's also possible to request an inspection of the other vehicle. However, it's crucial to request this as soon as possible in order for it to be approved.

Other Ways to Document Damage

A car repair shop may provide an estimate for the necessary repairs. This estimate can include a useful list of issues with the car as seen by a knowledgeable mechanic. It's crucial to request the arrival of law enforcement at the accident scene.

Often, only the police have the opportunity to see the accident scene in real time. Although the police can acquire important evidence of the damage on the scene right after the incident, an Indianapolis accident attorney can augment their work by going back to the crash scene.

Car Accident Damage Is Only One Piece of the Puzzle

Location of damage can either be used conclusively or in combination with other factors to determine fault. While this evidence can be extremely beneficial, it's generally only one of many components that are worth considering when proving fault.

Other crucial forms of evidence include:

  • Skid marks on the road

  • Witness testimony

  • Physical injuries

  • The police report

  • Statements from the parties involved in the car accident

  • Leftover debris at the accident scene

  • Weather conditions at the time of the collision

  • And more

All these forms of evidence can be used to build a successful case and strengthen a claim. Thus, it's vital to consider all of the above-mentioned elements.

Why Is It Important to Speak to a Car Accident Lawyer?

Why Is It Important to Speak to a Car Accident Lawyer?

Anyone who's been involved in a car accident needs to speak to a knowledgeable and professional attorney. A legal expert will assess the location of the damage and work with a team of qualified experts to prove how the accident happened. They will also have the necessary skills, resources, and time to prove fault effectively.

When filing a claim against the other driver, their insurance company might be difficult as they want to avoid paying a high settlement. Professional attorneys who have worked with many car insurance companies know how to negotiate the best possible settlement amount for their clients.

Speak to a Knowledgeable Car Accident Attorney Today!

It's evident that determining car accident fault isn't always as easy as it seems. However, this is a crucial form of evidence that may make or break the case. Thus, it's vital to hire an experienced and professional lawyer who will work with the necessary experts to prove who was at fault in an accident. From a head-on collision to a T-bone accident, legal experts know exactly what to look for to get a successful outcome.

At Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys, we pride ourselves on leaving no stone unturned. Our dedicated attorneys will fight aggressively to protect their clients' rights and obtain all the necessary evidence needed to prove fault for the accident. Contact our law firm for a free consultation.


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