How to Prove You Are Not At Fault in a Car Accident
No matter how a car accident occurs, it can really shake you up. One minute, you’re driving to work or taking your children to school. The next minute, your car is all banged up. You may very well be injured too, and the entire incident can be incredibly upsetting, leaving you afraid of driving for a while.
Perhaps someone rear-ended your vehicle and caused damage or left you and your passengers with injuries.
Even in a no-fault state like New York, you can recover money for these damages. With Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff, LLP, you’ll have a team of personal injury lawyers standing up for you to help you recuperate your losses.
What to Do After an Accident Happened
It’s not every day that you’ll be involved in a car accident, but when it happens to you, knowing what to do can help your car accident case and prove who is liable. Many car accident victims make the mistake of trying to talk to the negligent driver who caused the accident.
Trying to negotiate with the liable driver isn’t advised because it can make the situation even worse. With an experienced car accident lawyer working for you, you can navigate the aftermath and get back to living your life.
How Does New York Determine Fault in a Car Crash?
In the United States, you can put every state in one of two categories to determine fault. There are at-fault states and no-fault states. In an at-fault state, a car accident victim can seek compensation from the defendant due to the other driver’s negligence.
New York is one of the no-fault states, which means that as the victim, you have to file an insurance claim with your insurance company. This doesn’t mean that you are restricted from filing a claim or personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver. It simply means that you have to go through your own insurance provider first before you can recover compensation from the at-fault driver.
What Must You Prove to Get Compensation for a Car Accident Claim?
When making a car accident claim, you must first show proof that the other driver was the one at fault. You will endure the burden of proving fault for the car wreck in question. Once you have this proof, you can proceed with this legal matter, ideally with a law firm to assist you in making your case.
After you or your personal injury attorney proves the liability of the other driver, you can recover economic damages such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. You can also seek compensation for your non-economic damages, like pain and suffering, from the at-fault driver.
Proving liability must be done using evidence that you will need to collect to prove you are not at fault for the car accident.
Why Insurance Companies Need Proof of Negligence
Insurance companies are notorious for trying to find any way out of paying the full amount on claims. If there is any slight chance that you were responsible for the accident, they will do everything to limit the compensation you receive.
As such, they will need clear proof of negligence of the rear driver in a rear-end collision, even though the rear driver is nearly always at fault in those situations. This burden of proof falls onto you.
The insurance will want you to provide solid proof of the defendant’s liability. You must be able to show that that person was negligent and didn’t practice proper care while operating their vehicle.
You must also show that their negligence on the road caused the accident and that this neglectful act caused damages to you and your property. It’s a daunting task, which is why an experienced team of lawyers is what you need to help you navigate through this stressful process.
How to Prove You Are Not At Fault in a Car Accident
To prove fault, the more valuable evidence you collect, the better. The driver’s fault needs to be proven, and the more evidence you have, the easier it will be.
Take the following steps to show that the other driver caused the accident and that you are not to blame.
Document the Scene of the Traffic Accident
When you are involved in a car accident, you must take the time to document everything in the aftermath at the accident scene. The evidence you collect here can prove that the defendant was at fault. This will increase your chances of getting compensation for your losses.
One of the best things you can have for car accident cases is photos or video footage. You want to capture the accident scene, such as skid marks and the damage to each vehicle.
Exchange Contact Information
Even if you are not the one at fault in this car accident, you must exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver and anyone else involved. The at-fault driver’s insurance information is important to have when filing a claim against them.
If the other driver isn’t cooperative, you can use the official police report. You can get this from the officers that respond to the incident, which will help with your car accident lawsuit.
Get Witness Contact Information
If anyone was there to witness the car accident as it occurred, it helps to get their contact information. Witness statements can benefit you when you are not at fault in an accident. They may have seen which driver was negligent, perhaps by running a red light or stop sign, or making a left turn where it was prohibited.
With an eyewitness account, you can prove that the traffic violations the other driver committed caused the car accident. There’s no need to demand a statement from any witnesses that saw what unfolded. Simply collect their contact information and let your personal injury lawyer make the arrangements when pursuing a lawsuit against the defendant.
Get a Copy of the Police Report
To help prove you aren’t at fault in a car accident, you must obtain a copy of the police report. This important piece of evidence can be used to support your personal injury case.
The police officer will make an accident report that outlines what happened with the vehicles involved in the car accident. Often, it will note any violations of traffic laws, such as failing to stop at a red light, speeding, or making a left turn into oncoming traffic.
Police officers will also indicate what type of car accident occurred, whether it is a rear end collision or a left turn accident. You can obtain the police report by filing a public records request with the police department.
Acquire Traffic Camera Footage
These days, it’s pretty rare that an intersection lacks traffic cameras. Most major roadways and intersections have them, which can be instrumental in proving fault.
Traffic camera footage can show that you were not at fault for the car accident. Your car accident lawyer can help obtain this important evidence on your behalf. This is also why it’s an important step to make notes and document every detail about the accident from the location to the time of day and everything in between.
Get Black Box Data
Another important piece of evidence your personal injury lawyer can get is the data from the black box from your vehicle or the other driver’s vehicle if it is a newer model. Newer model cars often contain a black box, much like airplanes.
These electronic devices record the speed, force of impact, and other crucial details when collisions occur. This data can be used to verify that you were not speeding, that you applied your brakes at the appropriate time, and other pertinent points that can be used to argue your case.
Show Your Medical Records
Even if you think your car accident wasn’t too serious, it is always important that you get checked out right away. Some injuries don’t become apparent until a day or so later, and by not seeing a doctor, you won’t have any medical records to make your case.
In order to recover any compensation you are owed by the at-fault driver, you need to prove that you suffered injuries. Medical records will show how severe your condition is, the diagnosis, the prognosis, and the treatments required for your recovery.
This information can be used to show that due to the negligence of someone else, you were injured and deserve compensation for your medical bills.
Never Admit Fault
We’re often conditioned to apologize for things, even if we were not in the wrong. As such, many people make the unfortunate mistake where they admit fault, even if they were not responsible.
The facts and the evidence are what will determine liability in your car accident case. When you apologize for the accident, the defendant can and will use it against you to avoid the financial responsibility to cover any medical treatment you may need.
In a car accident, it is best that you do not say anything without consulting your personal injury lawyer. You can get the insurance information from those in the vehicles involved. Other than that, keep quiet to protect your rights so you can pursue and recover compensation.
Understanding Liability for Car Accidents
If you are the victim of a car accident, you should understand the local statutes. If you are found liable, you will bear financial responsibility, which is why gathering evidence and establishing a solid case is so important. You must prove you are not at fault.
New York has a comparative negligence law. This means that victims can recover compensation for car accidents even if they were partially at fault. However, the compensation will be reduced by their percentage of fault.
Work with a Law Firm That Handles the Rights of Injury Victims
When it comes to auto accidents, working with a law firm with experience in these matters is extremely important. At Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP, we can help you gather the evidence you need to prove that you are not at fault.
In doing so, we will work to get you the compensation you deserve, which will help even if the other party’s insurance company tries to claim you’re the liable one.
Injury lawyers always advise you never to make any admissions of fault. This is so you can recover what you lost for the damages you sustained. Our law firm is here for you if you need help proving that the defendant committed a traffic violation that resulted in the accident.
Contact Our Experienced Team for Representation
You should pursue legal action against the negligent driver that left you with damages that their insurance company will try to deny. We offer a free case review, allowing you to see how we can help you with this stressful situation.
For help navigating the aftermath of a car collision, contact Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP. We have four generations of experience you need to serve you and get you the compensation you need for the injuries and damages you’ve suffered. With a free case review, you’ll see how you can go after the negligent party to get the compensation you deserve.