When there is a car wreck, who decides the person at fault, and what if you disagree? Well, there is more to this question than you know. Read on and learn how fault is determined and some essential steps to take if it happens to you.
Let’s say you are going to the Catawba Science Center at the Salt Block for your daughter’s birthday party. You are on 3rd Ave Drive at 3rd St. NE when your light turns green, and you start forward like you are going onto 3rd Ave. Unfortunately, a car traveling the other direction on 3rd Street NE thinks it too has a green light, and a collision occurs.
If you drive around Hickory, you must be familiar with this crazy little spot. 3rd Street NE runs in three directions and into 3rd Ave., just before First United Methodist Church.
Anyway, both drivers are claiming they had a green light, so who determines fault? Well, if a Hickory Police officer is called to the scene, they will do an investigation, and if they have some evidence that suggests who caused the collision, they might note their opinion on their report. They will use things like the position of the vehicles, the driver’s statements, witness statements, and any other evidence to make their determination.
Next, the drivers’ insurance companies will do an investigation that will at least partially rely on the officer’s report. They will also talk to their insured and any witnesses or other people who will speak with them, including the other driver. They will come to their own determination as to fault.
What if you disagree? Hopefully, you have already contacted an experienced Hickory personal injury lawyer, but if not, now is the time.
Your lawyer will assess relevant evidence and decide who is at fault. Ultimately, a lawsuit can be filed on your behalf, and at different times the lawyers will ask the judge to decide on your case. If the judge does not rule on the merits of the case, it will go on to the jury to determine fault after hearing all of the evidence and the applicable law.
So, as you can see, many folks decide who is at fault, and they use all of the evidence available, including photos of the scene, damaged vehicles, witness statements, party statements, you name it.
This makes it vital that you get witness names and numbers, take photos of the cars, the damage, and their position in the road. Make sure you call for an officer and clearly and accurately explain what happened. Do not rely on the officer to get all of the information; you need to do this yourself if you are able. Don’t wait; contact an experienced car accident attorney in Hickory so their investigators can quickly start investigating your accident to accurately determine fault and make life easier for you.