Determining fault in a car accident involves gathering key pieces of evidence. That includes:
The police report
Calling the police is standard procedure at the scene of a car accident. When an officer arrives, they will conduct an initial investigation of the crash scene. The evidence they’ll document includes:
- Vehicle positions.
- Tire marks in the road.
- Vehicle debris.
- Damage to surrounding property.
- Injuries to parties involved.
- Witness and driver statements.
- Road conditions.
- Traffic signs and signals.
- Citations and/or arrests.
A police report will also contain a sketch or diagram showing how the crash likely occurred. You can obtain this report at the police station or agency that responded to the car accident. You can also find police reports through online portals.
Witnesses can provide an unbiased account of your car accident. Since they are not directly involved, their recollections can be more objective than those of the drivers or passengers involved.
Plus, witnesses may notice details that drivers missed. For example, they might see a car running a red light or notice a driver using a phone just before the collision. These details can be crucial in determining fault.
Be sure to get contact information from any witnesses at the scene of a crash. An attorney can later interview them and use their statements to support your claim.
Photos and videos
Taking photos and videos of the crash scene is a great way to document physical evidence. Be sure to capture vehicle damage, vehicle positions, road conditions, traffic signs, and any other relevant evidence.
If there are any witnesses at the crash scene, ask them if they recorded dashcam footage. Also, check the area for surveillance cameras. These can often be found at traffic lights, residential homes, and businesses.
Images and videos immediately taken after a car accident can help support your version of events and provide visual proof to support your claim. This evidence will especially come in handy if the other driver disputes your account.
A car accident lawyer may hire a crash reconstruction expert to examine the crash scene. These experts use scientific methods to reconstruct the accident. They analyze the available evidence, including vehicle positions, damage, skid marks, and environmental factors, to determine how and why the crash occurred.
A reconstructionist can estimate the speeds at which the vehicles were traveling and their movements before, during, and after the collision. Plus, they can determine if any traffic laws were violated, such as running a red light, illegal turning, or failing to yield.
Medical records provide concrete evidence of the injuries sustained in a car accident. They document the nature, extent, and severity of these injuries. These records can help establish a causal connection between your car accident and the injuries claimed. This is particularly important when the opposing party disputes that the collision caused your injuries.
Medical records also detail the treatments received, the duration of treatment, and the recovery process. This information demonstrates the impact of the injuries on your life and the associated medical expenses.