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How do I prove I was not at fault in a car accident?

Proving fault after a car accident is the first step to ensure you receive the proper compensation for your car accident injuries. While this may be simple in some car accidents; others, where the fault is not blatantly clear, it can be extremely difficult. Recently on our legal forum a user asked, "How do I prove who is at fault after a car accident?"

Steps to prove fault after a car accident

1. Contact the police and make sure a police report is filed.

After a car accident, unless it is a minor fender/bender, the police are generally notified and will write a report about the car accident. The police have experience reviewing car accident scenes, and they will review the evidence, discuss the case with witnesses, and include information about who they believe is responsible.

If you need help proving you are not at fault for a car accident the first place to look is the police report. Many reports will also include information about other driver's traffic violations and reckless actions; information which may be enough to prove your actions did not cause the accident.

2. Review and understand your state's traffic laws.

The second step to prove you did not cause a traffic accident is to review your state's driving laws. If the police included information about another driver's driving infractions you can review the code the driver violated and identify the exact statute. Infractions such as speeding, reckless driving, running a red light, or texting while driving could be a clear indication that another driver's actions contributed or caused an accident.

3. Gather evidence from the scene and from other witnesses.

Finding witnesses who will provide eye-witness testimony about the accident can significantly help your case. Find more than one witness if possible. Take pictures of the damage of your vehicle and other vehicles at the scene and see if this evidence can corroborate witness testimony. All information should be gathered immediately following the accident.

In some cases the pictures of the damage or the damage on a vehicle will provide enough evidence of who was at fault. For instance, if the rear-end of your car and the front-end of another car are damaged you should not have any problem proving that the other driver hit your car and failed to provide enough distance between your car and theirs to safely come to a complete stop.

4. Talk to a car accident lawyer.

Many car accident claims are filed and negotiated directly with the insurance company. This can easily be done with minor fender/benders where there is little damage to the vehicles and minor injuries to all parties. If you have suffered severe injuries, however, you may need legal help.

Car accident lawyers can also help you gather evidence and determine who at fault. This can become extremely important in states which do not allocate compensation to drivers whose actions have contributed to their own injuries.

The good news is most states have modified their laws to allow compensation even if you are partially to blame for your own injuries. The bad news is there are still four states (Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia) and the District of Columbia who recognize the Pure Contributory Negligence Rule. Under this rule if you are considered even 1% responsible for your injuries, you will not recover any damages in a civil claim.

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