Determining fault is a difficult enough process without stringent requirements for proof; but, understandably, the government and any involved insurance companies must be absolutely sure of who was at fault for an accident before determining whether to award additional compensation. If you elect to pursue a lawsuit against an at-fault driver for compensation beyond that offered by PIP or PDL, you’ll need to work with an attorney to prove the other driver’s fault.
Proving fault comes down to one key goal: clearly demonstrating that the at-fault driver failed to act reasonably and responsibly. This could mean that the driver performed a problematic action such as speeding up and rear-ending someone. It could also mean that the driver failed to perform a certain act (and that failure lead to damage). All of us take on an unspoken duty when we head onto our local roadways. We agree to:
- Obey traffic laws
- Ensure the safety of others
This concept is known as a “standard of care” and holds serious weight in legal spaces. As long as you can prove an at-fault party failed to uphold this standard of care, you maintain your right to fight for adequate compensation. Proving fault may involve:
- Photos and videos – If you or anyone else involved in the accident took pictures of videos of the scene, these can and should be used. Skid marks on the road and other similar hints that point towards reckless or panicked driving can also help your case. If possible, try to contact witnesses or nearby businesses to see whether they have photographs, video, or even CCTV footage of the crash. Proof like this is essentially air-tight; if you have security footage of an at-fault driver behaving erratically and causing your crash, that could be all you need to prove fault
- Witness statements – Even if any available witnesses failed to capture photos or video of your accident, they still saw it occur. Science and research have shown us that witness accounts are not always the most reliable forms of evidence, but they can and do count for a lot in court. Make sure to obtain witness’s contact information if at all possible. Your attorney can contact them later to record their statements
- Car accident reports – Car accident reports are some of the easiest forms of evidence to procure. If you were in a car accident that led to property damage or injury in excess of $500, you must report that accident to the local police department no later than 10 days after the crash. This mandated document is a great way to save critical information about the accident and offers valuable insight into what occurred