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Back November 25, 2019

How is Fault Determined in Car Accidents?

When people are involved in a serious car accident, it can sometimes be difficult to tell who actually caused the collision. In order to determine who was at fault for an accident, it may be necessary to undertake an investigation and review any available camera footage and police reports from the accident. It might also be necessary to speak with witnesses who were present at the scene and who had an opportunity to observe what happened and when.  

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle collision that was caused by someone else, you may be able to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against that individual to recover for your injury-related losses. It is important to be able to prove that you were not at fault in the crash in order to recover in North Carolina, due to our state’s contributory negligence laws.

The legal team at Biazzo & Panchenko, Attorneys at Law, regularly helps to determine the rights of car accident victims, and we can assist you. Do not hesitate to consult with our Matthews car accident lawyers about your legal options right away. 

Reviewing Camera Footage and Police Reports

Many intersections and other high-traffic areas are equipped with cameras that record traffic at various times of the day. In the case of a motor vehicle collision in the Matthews area, camera footage could be used in order to show who likely caused the accident and who should be deemed at fault. For example, a traffic camera might pick up on the fact that one of the vehicles ran a red light or failed to stop at a stop sign, colliding with another vehicle and causing the subject accident. When camera footage clearly shows that another driver caused an accident, the accident victim should be able to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

Police reports are also helpful when it comes to assessing who was at fault for an accident. The police report typically makes an assessment as to fault, based upon a police officer’s conversations with the driver and any witnesses who might have been present at the accident scene. The police report may also state how the accident likely occurred and may contain a diagram of the traffic intersection where the accident happened. Finally, the police report may indicate whether or not the officer who responded to the accident scene issued the driver a citation – and what the citation was for – or placed the other driver under arrest for an offense such as driving while intoxicated (DWI)

Speaking with Eyewitnesses to the Accident 

In some instances, eyewitnesses are present when a motor vehicle accident occurs. Speaking with these eyewitnesses can be helpful when it comes to determining who likely caused a collision. Sometimes, witnesses are pedestrians or other bystanders who saw what happened when the motor vehicles collided. At other times, a witness might be a driver or passenger in a nearby vehicle who observed what happened during the collision. An eyewitness to an accident may be able to give their opinion about any of the following:

  • The respective speeds of the motor vehicles that were involved in the collision
  • Whether one of the vehicles was swerving or weaving in and out of traffic
  • Whether one of the vehicle drivers appeared intoxicated based upon the way he or she was operating the vehicle
  • Whether one of the vehicles ran a stop sign, red traffic light, or violated some other rule of the road

It is important to get witness statements as close to the time of the crash as possible, as their memory can fade, and details can be less consistent as time passes. 

Expert Analysis

Sometimes, determining fault in a crash can require accident reconstruction or the analysis of other types of traffic experts. This might be the case when an accident involved many different vehicles, a large commercial truck, a road hazard, or a malfunctioning auto part. You want a law firm handling your case that has connections with reliable experts who can help to support your claims. 

Speak with a Matthews Car Accident Lawyer Today

The Matthews car accident lawyers at Biazzo & Panchenko regularly assist clients in determining who caused an accident, and we can help you assert a personal injury claim against the responsible individual. To schedule a free case evaluation with our trusted legal team, please call us at 704-761-6817 or contact us online to learn more about how we could assist you after a car accident and injuries.

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