Let’s face it, being in a car accident is a fantastic way to ruin your day; but if you are injured or there is severe damage from the accident it will affect more than just your day. While some states are no-fault states when it comes to car accidents, Arizona is an at-fault state, meaning that the at-fault party will be held responsible for the accident. This makes it ever so important to prove who was responsible for the accident for insurance purposes, and in the event of extreme cases for lawsuits.
Behind the Law
In most cases, auto accidents will be covered by negligence law and is important also to understand state liability laws. It will be important to prove that the other party was being careless or negligent, which lead to the accident. However, if you were also not paying attention, you may receive less money as both parties had some responsibility in the accident.
How to Prove Fault
When you go to court or to make the insurance claim, have the evidence prepared that shows that the other party was at-fault for the accident. This will help to make the process go quicker and easier, but it will also insure that you receive maximum compensation. One of the first things to obtain and possibly the most important item is the police report from the accident if one is available. In most cases, police will not come to the scene of an accident unless there is an injury, but it is possible to go to a police station to file a report. In these cases, there will be a further investigation into the accident. If they were on the scene of the accident, ask the officer how you can obtain a copy of the report which will have the official opinion of who was at-fault, as well as any citations given for the accident. In most cases where there is a report, there will have been some sort of traffic citation issued to the party responsible. There may also be witness statements that will assist in proving what the other party was doing, such as speeding, that would otherwise be difficult to prove.
The driver of the car who was at-fault may also have violated some sort of traffic law outside of just negligence that caused the accident. If you believe a law was violated, be sure to bring that information forward when making your claim or if you are going to court, notify your accident attorney of the situation. You can find most of these statutes online or in your local law library to obtain the specific verbiage of what law was violated. Occasionally, cell phone usage will play a role in the incident. If you believe they were the cause of the driver’s negligence, be sure to have your attorney obtain phone records as this can swing a case in your favor.
Rules for Specific Collisions
Some incidents such as rear-end collisions and left-turn collisions, insurance companies will rarely ever dispute who the at-fault party was. In a rear-end collision, drivers are required to maintain a safe distance behind the car in front of them as well as be attentive to what is going on. Almost all rear-end cases are the fault of the person who rear-ends another car, with few exceptions. If there was a taillight out or something such as a flat tire that the driver failed to address, the lead car may be at-fault or at least not be able to receive as large of a settlement.
Drivers making a left-turn are required to yield to oncoming traffic, so if a driver turns left and his hit, they will typically be responsible for being negligent. There are exceptions if the oncoming car was driving at excessive speeds or ran a red light, but sometimes this can be hard to prove.
After a car accident, keeping a calm head and remembering every step to take can be difficult. Be sure to first make sure everyone is ok, but then call your insurance company as they will help get you through the immediate process of dealing with the accident. If you were not at fault in the accident and suffered injuries, be sure to contact an attorney to help you get the compensation you require. Often times, insurance companies will send you a settlement that does not cover expenses or damages, and in those cases being able to prove fault will help to get you what you need to get your life back together.