When someone crashes into your car, more often than not, there is a dispute over who hit whom. In some cases, this might be relatively more straightforward. For example, if the other driver ran a red light and struck your vehicle, then, the case might be less challenging to prove. However, a majority of car accident cases are not as straightforward. We find that drivers often lie because they may be worried about prior crashes, suspensions or speeding tickets on their driving record. Some others may lie because they don't have a valid driver's license or auto insurance. In such cases, it might become much more challenging to get to the truth.
Importance of Evidence
In a car accident case, it is up to the plaintiff to prove that the other driver was negligent and at fault in order to receive compensation. Failing to do so may result in financial expenses for you including paying for vehicle damage, medical costs and enduring other types of monetary losses such as lost wages.
Remember, that it is up to you to preserve the evidence of car accident negligence. First, it's important to ensure that your account of the incident gets into the police report. If the other driver's account is in the report, but yours is missing, you may have lost a valuable opportunity to get your perspective in there. It is also crucial to call 911 after your crash.
Get as much evidence as possible from the scene of the crash, while the accident site is still "fresh." Your cell phone camera is perfect for capturing photos and videos of the accident scene before vehicles are removed and before bystanders and witnesses who may have seen it all happen, disperse from the scene. If you are injured, ask a family member or friend to help you gather this type of evidence, which may be valuable for your case.
Reasons to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
When you take photos, be sure to take close-up images of the points of contact, new and old damage to the vehicles and the license plate. Step back and take photos from a distance to show how the vehicles came to rest soon after the crash. Photograph the accident scene from a distance to include background, traffic lights, roadways, accident debris and any signs at the intersection. Be sure to also take photos of the other driver's license and insurance card. If any bystanders witnessed the accident, ask for their names and contact information.
Determining the Cause of the Crash
When there is a dispute about who hit whom, your insurance company will typically conduct a liability investigation. It is important that you report the incident to your insurance company right away. When you make your initial accident report, make it very clear to the person who takes your report that you do not believe you were at fault. Share only facts that you are sure of, not speculation.
When there is an injury claim where the liability is in question and the case has a higher value, insurance companies will put more energy and effort into their investigation. They will try to get statements from the drivers involved. During their interview, they may ask the same questions in different ways to see how they are answered. They will also look for inconsistencies. Experienced insurance adjusters will be able to tell when a driver is lying.
How Do I Settle my Car Accident Lawsuit?
An experienced auto damage appraiser can also look at the damage to vehicles involved and tell which one caused the initial impact. They will look at the location of the damage, paint swipes, dents, broken taillights, debris, missing parts, etc. After examining these types of evidence, it is possible to tell who hit whom and how the vehicle was hit.
Other investigative resources for your case may include:
Surveillance cameras: These cameras are everywhere and record everything. Once you figure out who may have a recording of your incident, it is important to approach them right away before they delete it. You may need a legal representative to issue a subpoena for the right to view and copy the footage.
Accident reconstruction expert: Accident reconstruction experts specialize in fields such as mechanical or biomechanical engineering. They can digitally simulate how a crash might have occurred depending on scientific facts. They also examine accident scenes and vehicle damage, and draw conclusions based on physical evidence.
Event data recorders: Also known as "black boxes," these devices record a vehicle's activities in the moments before and during the impact. They collect data primarily during a front-end collision or when an accident deploys a vehicle's airbags. Data gleaned from these recorders may be crucial when it comes to resolving liability issues.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you have been injured in a car accident, it would be in your best interest to get an experienced Orange County car accident lawyer on your side who can help ensure that your legal rights are protected every step of the way. The car accident lawyers at Timothy J. Ryan & Associates always offer free, initial consultations to victims and their families. We also don't charge any fees unless we recover compensation for you. Call us today to schedule your free consultation and case evaluation.