How To Determine Who Is At Fault In An Accident

You’ve just had an accident. How do you know who is at fault? Here is handy guide to understanding how to determine the guilty party.
Sherryn de Vos
2017-01-27
If you have ever been in an accident, you might agree that, sometimes, it is tricky to determine who is actually at fault. In many cases, it is easy to pinpoint who was being negligent. There are, however, cases where the lines become blurred. Here is a handy guide to determining who is at fault when the worst happens.

How To Determine Who Is At Fault In An Accident

To determine a guilty party, you have to show that the other driver did not act reasonably in the given circumstances. The other driver should have been able to foresee the damages that they caused. They should have also taken measures to avoid the accident taking place. The first thing to keep in mind, should you be in an accident, is; never make a statement of guilt. Whether you caused the accident or not, this is for the police on the case to decide. Should you admit guilt, you could be liable to pay the other parties damages. Even if it is eventually determined to not be your fault. Your first action after a collision is to document as much as possible. With solid evidence behind you, you can go to your insurance company to take the next steps.
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Speed

This seems an obvious first point. Yet, speed is one of the main causes of accidents. Should one party be exceeding the speed limit, they will be instantly considered the guilty party. Travelling at an unnecessary speed impedes your ability to control the situation. Should something unexpected happen, your reaction time is severely hindered.

Lack Of Awareness

This can include a general lack of awareness and concentration on the road. It will also encompass the use of a cell phone while driving. Eating, drinking, or applying makeup will also fall under this category. Should you be accusing the other driver of lack of awareness, ensure that you get witnesses to confirm your statement. It will be one word against another, so evidence is crucial in tackling this kind of accident. 
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Failing To Keep The Vehicle Under Control

Whether this is determined by speed, not breaking in time, or erratic steering. Failure to control the car will result in an accident. If you can prove that the other person simply lost control of the vehicle, that person will be guilty of causing the accident. A loss of control of the vehicle can be caused by sheer negligence, or could be due to a lack of judgment. Keep this in mind while collecting evidence about the accident.

Drinking And Driving

This is an undisputed fact. If you are over the limit and are involved in an accident, you will be automatically found guilty. If another person collides with you, it will be assumed that your reaction times were impaired and you will be charged. 
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Rear-Ends

In certain cases, it becomes a lot trickier. Should you be involved in a rear-end, it is usually the fault of the person who has collided with the car in front of them. They can be cited for driving too close to the person in front of them, or failing to stop in time due to speeding. There are cases, however, in which the driver in the front is responsible. Even a third party could be responsible for the accident. Should a driver slam on breaks without justification, that person will be liable. Many cases exist including drivers suddenly changing lanes, or swerving to turn off. In these cases, it is best to gather as much evidence as possible. Collect statements from witnesses and allow the police to determine the guilt.

Negligence

This includes every obvious violation of traffic law. Whether it be running a red light, driving without lights on, failure to look both ways before turning, or not using indicators. Others include driving in the yellow line, not wearing your prescription glasses with poor eyesight, and not observing basic street signage like stop signs.