Maybe it’s obvious who’s at fault in your car accident, or maybe the details aren’t quite clear yet. Either way, you can expect both insurance companies to work hard, investigate the accident, and try to determine liability. Learn more about how liability is determined in an accident, so you know what to expect throughout your personal injury claim.
Ready to take the first step in your personal injury claim? Our team is ready to help. Call Burns, Cunningham & Mackey at 251-432-0612 to schedule a consultation now.
The Police Report
The police report is an incredibly important piece of evidence, and it may very well be the first piece of evidence that the insurance company looks at. When the police report to the scene of an accident, they ask each party what happened, take note of any injuries or property damage, and look for signs that laws were broken. They compile this information into a police report, which is then available to both parties.
Many insurance companies use this to make their initial determination of fault. However, it is important to note that a police report can be wrong. A police officer may misinterpret evidence, fail to understand one person’s side of the story, or leave out important information. That’s why it’s important to review the police report as soon as possible.
Physical evidence is another crucial piece of the puzzle. It should be one of your top priorities after an accident. Take a few minutes to take photos of the crash scene from multiple angles, get video footage, and take photos of your injuries. Backup your photos at your earliest convenience so you can send them to your attorney and your insurance company.
In many cases, physical evidence is the only way to discredit the other driver’s untruthful story. Damage to public property, such as signs, medians, and buildings, may also be a useful tool when it comes to determining who is at fault.
Perhaps one of the most important tools available to insurance companies and attorneys is the eyewitness interview. Insurance companies may interview passengers in both cars, but they tend to take those stories with a grain of salt since the passenger may take guidance from the driver. However, if anyone stops to provide assistance after the crash, get their contact information. If they witnessed the accident, their testimony can be helpful to your attorney and your insurance company.
Some accident claims are more complex than others. If the truth of an accident cannot be determined from each party’s retelling, physical evidence, and eyewitness testimony, expert witnesses may be necessary. Expert witnesses are also helpful if there are disputed versions of events. If each side vehemently denies fault and there are serious questions regarding who broke the law, an expert witness may be necessary to determine what actually happened during the accident.
Determining liability is an unavoidable part of the personal injury claim process. It’s the very first step in figuring out how much compensation you are owed, how easy it will be to recover that compensation, and what it will take to convince the insurance company to pay up. While you can trust your insurance company to fight for you, they also have a vested interest in wrapping up the claim as quickly as possible and not spending too much money or time on it. That’s why it’s often helpful to hire a personal injury attorney.
Whether your claim is simple or complex, their sole priority is figuring out what happened and helping you get the compensation you deserve. From figuring out who caused the accident to evaluating the financial value of your claim and negotiating with the insurance company, they take care of it all. This allows you to focus on recovering, rather than answering endless calls from the insurance companies.
Take the First Step in Your Claim with Burns, Cunningham & Mackey
The sooner you get in touch with our team after an accident, the more quickly we can start investigating and building a claim for you. We fight aggressively to help each client get a chance at full and fair compensation. Set up a meeting now by calling us at 251-432-0612 or contacting us online.