When you’ve been in a car accident, damage to your vehicle is something you will have to fix so you can get back on the road. But while vehicle damage is an obstacle you will have to overcome, your insurance company may have different views. Many car insurance companies use the location of damage or the accident impact zone to determine car accident fault, even for truck accident claims. Learn more about how the impact of damage is used for proving fault after a car accident.
The location of vehicle damage is one of the strongest pieces of evidence used to prove fault in a car accident case. An accident reconstruction expert can study the damage to all vehicles involved in the accident to pinpoint which driver is responsible for causing the accident. This is also true for truck accidents. The steps for determining car accident fault include:
First, the car accident or truck accident will need to be closely investigated. Usually, this investigation will be conducted by your insurance company or by experts hired by your car accident attorney. It’s important to investigate the accident scene as soon as possible after the accident so no evidence is lost. Gathering evidence to prove your claim is the best way to receive maximum compensation for your injuries and damages, as well as compensation for injured passengers.
Investigating a truck accident claim can be a little more complex, particularly when serious injuries and damages occur because of the accident. Forensic evidence gathered by experts will log details such as skid marks, damaged guardrails, tire marks, and road debris. When the evidence lines up with the location of the damage on your vehicle, accident reconstruction experts can reach a conclusion about which driver is most responsible for the accident.
Along with forensic evidence, there is a lot of other evidence that can be used to illuminate how a crash occurred. Evidence such as the police report, witness testimony, traffic camera video footage, photographs, cell phone records, and red light information can be essential for determining fault. Other critical evidence for a truck accident claim includes truck maintenance records, shipping manifests, and truck driver logs.
After evidence is collected, it’s very easy to determine which driver caused the accident. For example, damage to the right rear corner of a vehicle usually occurs because of a tailing driver, while certain safety devices like airbags will only engage if a car is impacted from one side. If only one car sustains the most damage, or if it’s very clear that the other driver rear-ended you in the collision, the other driver will be legally liable.
How the accident occurred is also part of this step. If the other driver caused the accident, it could be because the at-fault driver was not paying attention or because the other driver was driving dangerously. Dangerous driving can prove to be deadly, which is why your truck accident attorney will hold the truck driver and all other liable parties responsible
The evidence left behind by car accidents is rarely incorrect, but there could be times when the location of the damage does not paint a full picture of how a car accident happened. While a side impact accident usually happens because one driver ran a stop sign, the location of the damage alone does not prove that only one driver was responsible for the accident scene. In some car accidents, a side impact might occur because both drivers have done something wrong.
If the damage to the car isn’t enough to prove which driver was responsible, evidence such as police reports, witness statements, and video footage can all be used to fill in the gaps to determine car accident fault.
In car accident claims and truck accident claims, it’s possible that more than one person is responsible for your injuries and property damage. The liable parties in an ordinary car accident case are usually the other driver or drivers.
The liable parties in a truck accident claim may be the truck driver, the trucking company, or even the company responsible for loading the cargo onto the truck. Experienced truck accident lawyers will be able to identify liable parties to determine fault based on key evidence.
Next, the total cost of all of your damages will be calculated. In truck accident claims, vehicle damage and car repair estimates are only a portion of the compensation you can claim. Many injured drivers can also seek compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, catastrophic injury, physical pain, and emotional suffering after a crash.
Pursuing compensation for your injuries and damages is the next step after your crash has been investigated. If you want to repair your vehicle or you want compensation for medical expenses, you will need to file a claim with the liable party’s insurance company. At this point, if the claims adjuster is determined to deny your claim based on their interpretation of the location of damage to your vehicle.
Aside from filing a car accident claim with the other driver’s insurance, you may also want to file a claim with your insurance company for more immediate financial relief. If you have a no-fault policy on your insurance, then your insurance carrier should cover the cost of your injuries, your passenger’s injuries, and the loss of income after a crash.
The final step of your claims process should be negotiating for a settlement that will cover all of your economic damages. Proving fault is so essential for recovering the compensation you deserve because each piece of evidence, from your injuries to the location of the damage to your vehicle damage, will be used to calculate the settlement you should receive.
If you are negotiating for a fair settlement with trucking companies, you could be fighting an uphill battle. This is because some trucking companies hire independent contractors as truck drivers, which ultimately removes the liability the company may have for the crash. Because an independent contractor may only have minimal insurance coverage, the compensation you can recover after the crash could be minimal.
Texas is a modified comparative fault state, which essentially means that both drivers involved in a car accident are entitled to claim part of the settlement award. If you are only a small percentage responsible for the accident, your compensation will be greater; if you are mostly responsible for the accident, you will have less compensation, and you may have to pay for your injuries and damages out of pocket.
Often, when truck accident claims go to court, it’s because your law firm is unable to reach a fair outcome for your settlement negotiations with the insurance company. Sometimes, your case may also go to court because the other driver claims you are responsible for vehicle damage based on the location of damage, and a judge will need to determine fault in your case.
If your car accident or truck accident claim must be settled in court, then either the judge presiding over the case or a jury of your peers will determine fault for the crash. Generally speaking, your lawyer will present evidence in court to help the jury connect the dots so the correct conclusion of how the crash occurred can be reached. The jury will look at damage to your vehicle and damage to other vehicles involved in the accident, as well as many other pieces of evidence to determine car accident fault.
If your car accident was caused by an oncoming driver or by a driver giving too little space between cars, then the driver of the other vehicle is responsible for your personal injury. Even if your accident involved a large truck, you can prove fault in your accident by using evidence such as video surveillance footage. Contact Brian C. Gutierrez at 979-271-5338 for a free consultation today.
If you need a trucking accident attorney in Bryan, TX or College Station, contact Brian C. Gutierrez, PLLC for experienced representation.
Our semi truck accident lawyer in Bryan, TX can help you build a strong case. We will obtain the crash report, conduct our own investigation, gather evidence, interview witnesses, hire experts, inspect the tractor-trailer, and if necessary, file a lawsuit and subpoena records to prove the negligence of the truck driver and the carrier.
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