Morgan Gaynor | December 26, 2020 | Car Accidents
Sometimes it can be difficult to determine how a car accident occurred. Both drivers may blame each other for the cause of the car crash. The police officers may not be able to determine who the wreck occurred, and there may not be any eyewitnesses or video evidence.
What can an accident victim do to prove the other driver was at-fault for the car accident? Accident reconstructionists, engineers, and car accident lawyers might be able to help.
Why Do We Care About Fault for a Car Crash in Florida?
Florida is a no-fault insurance state for car accident claims. In most cases, the fault for a car crash is not a factor when filing an insurance claim. Each driver files a claim with their PIP insurance provider.
PIP insurance can pay for most of the medical bills from a car or truck accident, regardless of who was at fault. No-fault insurance can also reimburse you for some of your lost wages.
Fault for a car accident becomes important when you sustain serious injuries. Serious injuries can include permanent disfigurement, scarring, and disabilities. If you meet the serious injury threshold, you can sue the driver who caused the car crash for damages such as:
- Full reimbursement for all medical costs
- Full reimbursement for lost income and benefits
- Physical, emotional, and mental pain and suffering
- Future damages for disabilities and permanent impairments
- Loss of quality of life and enjoyment of life
- Disabling conditions and impairments
- Other out-of-pocket expenses related to the crash and your injuries
You cannot recover these damages from a no-fault insurance claim. You can only receive compensation for these damages by filing a personal injury claim against the other driver.
Proving Fault for a Car Accident
After a car accident, a personal injury lawyer investigates the crash. The lawyer searches for evidence that can prove how the car accident occurred and who is responsible. Evidence in a car accident case can include:
- Videos from traffic cameras and nearby surveillance cameras
- Testimony from eyewitnesses
- Statements from drivers and passengers
- Copies of police reports and accident reports
- Information from onboard data recorders
- Weather and road conditions at the time of the accident
In some cases, there may be very little evidence that can support your claim that the other driver caused the crash. For example, you claim that a driver ran a stop sign as you were in the middle of the intersection. The other driver claims that you ran the stop sign.
If there were no eyewitnesses and no passengers in the vehicle, it is your word against the other driver’s word. In this situation, you may need experts to examine the vehicle’s damage to help prove who was at fault for causing the car wreck.
Vehicle Damage as Evidence of Fault
The type, location, and severity of damage to the vehicles can help experts determine how a car crash occurred. Your car accident lawyer might retain experts to assist in the investigation, such as engineers, accident reconstructionists, car designers, and other industry experts.
Experts review the vehicles’ damage and any available information about the accident to identify factors that could have led to the accidents. They use the laws of physics and dynamics combined with the basics of engineering to recreate how the accident occurred.
Other information that experts might use to help them determine who caused a car accident include:
- The accident injuries sustained by each driver
- The vehicle’s crashworthiness
- The weather and road conditions at the time of the crash
- Physical evidence gathered from the accident scene, such as the location of road debris and skid marks (or lack of skid marks)
- The speed of the vehicles at the time of the crash
- Any visual impairments from road signs, buildings, or foliage
- The vehicle’s safety features, such as crash avoidance systems, cruise control, airbags, anti-locking brakes, etc.
- Data recovered from recorders and systems in the vehicle
After compiling all relevant information, the experts work to determine precisely how the car crash occurred, the factors that contributed to the crash, and who contributed to each crash factor.
Comparative Fault and Fault for Florida Car Accidents
The legal theory of comparative fault is another reason why we need to be concerned with who is to blame for a car accident. If you were partially to blame for the cause of an accident, the money you receive for your damages could be reduced by the percentage of fault you have for the cause of the collision.
Therefore, if you are 60 percent at fault, the most you could receive as compensation for your damages is 40 percent of your car accident claim value. However, if you are 20 percent at fault, your compensation is 80 percent of your claim’s value.
Therefore, proving that the other driver was entirely at fault for the crash or mostly at fault for the accident is the best way to increase how much money you receive for your car accident claim.