If you’ve been in a car accident, determining who is at fault is crucial to you getting the justice and compensation you deserve.
While the location and intensity of the damage done to the vehicle can provide clues about how the accident unfolded, it doesn’t tell the whole story.
Why Determining Fault is Important
The person who is found to have caused the accident will be responsible – in most cases, through their insurance provider – to compensate you for medical costs, lost wages, property damage to your vehicle and any other out of pocket expenses triggered by the accident.
Keep in mind that Alaska is a “fault” state, which means the person who caused the accident is responsible for covering any costs.
If you are found to be partially responsible, your compensation may be reduced by a certain percentage.
What Damage Can Tell Us About an Accident
While it rarely paints the whole picture, damage from a wreck can provide some insight into the vehicles just before the accident occurred.
For example, minor damage to one vehicle may indicate the other driver was traveling at a relatively low speed or had time to brake. Heavy damage may show the other driver was perhaps speeding or may have been driving under the influence.
Location of the damage can also provide clues, but again, in many cases, it’s not enough on its own to show fault.
Perhaps the damage was done to the rear of your vehicle and the front of the other car. That alone doesn’t mean the other diver was following too close behind. Maybe you stopped unexpectedly and to the surprise of the other driver. In some similar situations, you may face charges of reckless driving.
Other Methods for Determining Fault in a Car Accident
Beyond damage, there are other elements that can give investigators insight as to who caused an accident.
- Witness statements
Few things will make a case stronger than the first-hand account of someone who saw it. If you’re able, one of the first things you should do after being involved in a car accident is to collect the contact information of anyone who witnessed it. You could also use a voice recorder app to capture their immediate thoughts.
- Driving and weather conditions
As we reported earlier, research shows the risks of driving increases tremendously when the weather is bad. In determining fault, the conditions of the road and the functionality of traffic signals is important.
- Medical exams
Certain injuries will provide investigators with telltale signs of what happened in a car accident. It’s important you be examined by a doctor as soon as possible if you’ve been in an accident. Even though you may be feeling fine, certain injuries take time to reveal themselves.
- Additional evidence
Things like photographs or videos of the crash scene, skid marks, road damage, cell phone records (to determine if either driver was texting or talking at the time of the incident) are all important factors in determining fault.
If You’ve Been Injured by Another Driver, Call the Alaska Personal Injury Lawyers with Barber & Associates.
We take pride in helping our fellow Alaskans obtain the justice and compensation they deserve after being injured by someone else.