The moments that follow a car crash accident are usually terrifying and it may not be the best time to determine liability. Blame will likely be tossed from one party to the other and vice-versa.
Liability is never 100% on one party because a lot of factors may have contributed to the accident. For instance, the condition of the vehicle and road, the weather, and many more may contribute to an accident and not necessarily negligence. That said, it’s important to contact an attorney for an accident in Anchorage if you’ve recently been involved in a car accident.
How to Prove Liability After an Auto Accident
The factors discussed in this section can be used to determine liability after a car accident. We’ll review each factor, and highlight scenarios involving the liable parties.
1. Accident Details
Noting down the details of an accident is as important as a police report. Why? Because the facts, of the accident, will still be available even when adrenaline and shock have worn off. In other words, you’ll be in a position to remember the critical details of the accident that can easily be forgotten or overlooked in the heat of the moment.
The best approach is to ensure you always have a notebook in your car; you never know when you might need it. Alternatively, you can note down the details of the accident on your phone. The things you may want to note down after an accident can include:
- The extent of damage done to your vehicle;
- Location of the accident;
- Date and time of the accident;
- The weather condition;
- The driver’s license of the other driver;
- The number plate number of the other car;
- Damage is done to the other car; Any traffic violations according to your point of view;
- The contact information of the other driver, and
- The insurance details of the other driver.
Noting down the extent of damage to your car will come in handy when determining the cost of repairs. Noting down the details of the accident, such as street names, the date, the time, and the weather conditions is a way of preserving evidence that can help you if the case goes to court. The details of the other car and driver should be obtained at the scene of the accident. Otherwise, you will be forced to obtain that information from police reports.
2. Photographic Evidence
Most phones nowadays double as phones and cameras and hence, you can easily take photos. Pictures are used to build evidence for a strong case and prove the liability of the other driver. Key details to capture at an accident scene can include:
- The traffic sign;
- Damage to your vehicle and the other vehicle, and
- Other tell-tale signs of the accident, such as skid marks.
Photographing the damage on your vehicle will help show where the car was hit while skid marks show the initial position of each car before the accident happened. In other words, skid marks will help you prove the position of each motorist.
The photograph of the overall accident scene preserves the details that can easily be forgotten. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, it can provide sufficient evidence to prove liability in a car accident claim.
3. Police Reports
Police reports are arguably the most important documents in a car accident case. Why? They provide critical, including minor details of the accident in addition to the opinion of the police officer(s) who visited the accident scene. The opinion of the police is considered is unbiased and that’s why police reports are the primary references used by courts and insurance companies to resolve accident claims. The components of a police or accident report can include:
- The details of the parties involved in the accident;
- Personal details of witnesses, such as contacts and names;
- Exact location and/or address of the incident (the geographic location of the incident)
- Time and date of the accident;
- A detailed description of the events that led to the accident;
- Description of the injuries sustained by the parties involved.
The exact traffic violation and any issued citation may be mentioned. Although police reports are can be used to prove liability, it doesn’t mean that the opinion of a police officer is definite and final. You can still bring a case against the other party if you don’t believe the opinion of a police officer.
4. State Traffic Laws
Understanding the traffic laws of your state can give you an edge when filing legal action against the other driver. Alaska Highway Safety Office provides downloadable driver’s handbooks and manuals to help motorists search for specific traffic laws.
You’ll also need to back up your argument with cited sources when settling an injury claim through the insurance claims process. However, there’s no substitute for a skilled and experienced Anchorage auto accident attorney.
We’ve seen the grey areas when it comes to proving liability! This is why the fault is apportioned to the parties of an accident. Always ensure you’re well-presented legally when proving liability in a car accident.