Can Fault Be Determined By Car Accident Damage?

One of the most important things to do after a car accident is determining whose fault the accident was. While it might sound simple, and in some cases it is, establishing fault is often far from easy. 

There are so many factors to consider and variables to weigh. What makes determining fault even more difficult is the fact that the at-fault party could be held liable for damages. When multiple parties are involved it could mean big money is on the line.

There are, however, several things individuals, police officers, insurance adjusters, and lawyers can do to try and understand who was at-fault for an accident. In some cases, for example if one party broke the law by running a red light or texting while driving, fault will be easy to assign.

In other cases where it isn’t immediately clear who was at fault or the issue is contested, it might take some more digging and work. 

Some things interested parties do to determine fault include:

  • Take witness statements
  • Obtain video of the intersection where the accident occurred
  • Hire experts to reconstruct the accident

One final thing you can do to help establish fault in a car accident is examine the damage to the vehicles involved in the accident. To be sure, not all damage will definitively determine fault. But there are numerous damage patterns that can indicate one party was at least more at fault for the accident, if not completely so.

Side Damage

If there is damage on the passenger side of your car, there are several scenarios that could point to the other party being at fault for the accident. For example, if a vehicle is entering a roadway and fails to take notice of a car that is already driving on that roadway and subsequently hits them on the side, or “T-bones” them, the car entering the roadway is most likely at fault for the accident. 

Side damage can also occur at intersections where the car running a red light hits the side of the car driving through their green light. Again, this would indicate the car doing the hitting is at fault. 

Of course, in both of these scenarios and others like them, the situation on the road needs to be taken into consideration. There is also the possibility that more than one party could be at fault, and that one of the at-fault parties wasn’t even on the road.

In the above scenario where one car ran through a red light, the municipal government tasked with administering that traffic light could be liable if the light was faulty in some way.

Left Front End Damage

In some accidents, a vehicle might make a sharp turn from one roadway onto another, and cut off a vehicle that had the right of way to keep driving. If the car that had the right of way has damage on the front left of their vehicle, it could be because they swerved to the right to avoid the collision. 

Such a damage pattern might indicate that the driver of the car making the turn was at fault for the accident and the driver of the second car was not because they did what they could to avoid it.

Rear End Damage

One type of damage pattern commonly seen in accidents is when one vehicle sustains damage to the rear end while the other vehicle has damage on the front end. In this type of accident, it is often determined that the vehicle with front end damage is at fault. 

This could be because the driver of that vehicle was distracted and didn’t stop in time or perhaps because they were tailgating the vehicle in front of them. 

Contact a South Florida Car Accident Lawyer

No matter where the damage is located on your car, you should contact a South Florida personal injury lawyer who specializes in car accident cases. A qualified lawyer will know what to look for in your case and what steps to take to ensure you have the best chance at recovering damages. 

Your lawyer will investigate the accident, talk to witnesses, and guard you from insurance companies intent on assigning fault to you. Only with the help of a skilled car accident attorney can you maximize your chances of getting the compensation you deserve.