Car Accident Liability: Proving Fault in a Car Crash

To succeed in a motor vehicle accident claim, it is important to prove fault – i.e. who is at fault or who is negligent.  You may know that the other person is at fault but you must prove that the other person is at fault. Merely claiming that the other person is at fault will not suffice. Here are a few things that can help you prove fault in a motor vehicle accident.

Police Reports

In case of an accident, you should report the accident to the police. Generally, the police will reach the accident scene. If the police does not reach the accident scene, you should call up the police and report the accident. Ensure that you provide the police with your statement – your version of the events that led to the accident. Once the police records the statements of the parties involved in the accident, the police will prepare a report. You should collect a copy of this report from the police station. Generally, this report is given free of cost but in some jurisdictions you may have to pay a small fee to get a copy of this report.

The police report will generally list the names and addresses of the parties involved and will describe the accident scene. It will also contain a record of what the police officer who visited the scene of the accident thought about the accident including who is at fault. It will generally record the details the officer observed at the scene of the accident – whether there are skid marks on the road, whether one vehicle was on the wrong lane, etc.  The police officer’s notes can play an important role in determining fault.

Sometimes the police report may specifically state if any of the parties involved in the accident has violated any statute. In such cases, proving fault becomes easier. The general presumption is that the person who has violated the law is at fault unless he or she can prove that the violation had nothing to do with the accident.

Traffic Rules

Traffic rules are meant to prevent accidents and to ensure the safety of the others on the road. Any person who breaks these rules is generally considered to be negligent. In some cases, a person who breaks the traffic rule will be considered to have acted recklessly.

Traffic rules constitute an informal institution. We all know how to drive on the right hand side of the road, dip our headlights for incoming traffic and obey the speed limit; if not, there will be negative consequences for us and other drivers. Other drivers know what to expect of us and we know what to expect of them. Without the traffic rules there would be chaos. It is quite clear that we need traffic rules to avoid accidents.

Check to see if the other person has violated any of the traffic rules. For example if there was a stop sign but the person did not stop, then it is a violation of the traffic rules.

No fault insurance

Most states have no fault insurance laws. No fault is a type of auto insurance in which each party looks to his or her own insurer for payment, regardless of who caused the accident. Under state no-fault insurance laws, negligence doesn’t have to be established before an insurance company agrees to pay. The insured receives prompt payment from his or her insurer and no subrogation follows. Usually no-fault insurance only applies to injuries and not to property damage. The trade-off for the insurance companies in states with no fault insurance companies is that the insured’s right to go to court for additional damages is restricted.

Rear End Accidents

Perhaps the most common type of motor vehicle accidents is rear end accidents. A rear end accident is one that involves a vehicle being hit in the rear by another vehicle. Generally, in a rear end accident, the driver of the vehicle that is hit is often not at fault. It is often the other driver who is at fault. The most likely cause of a rear end accident is that the driver at the back failed to stop in time.

The damage to a vehicle can prove a rear end accident. In a two vehicle crash, if one vehicle’s front is damaged while the rear of the other vehicle is damaged, it is a clear case of a rear end accident.

Sometime the driver of the vehicle in front can also be at fault for a rear end accident. For example, the driver suddenly applies the brake for no apparent reason causing the vehicle behind him to crash into his vehicle.

Left turn collisions

In the United States, we drive on the right hand side of the road. At an intersection, the vehicles coming straight will have the right of way. Vehicles wanting to turn left must yield. In a left turn collision, the driver making the left turn is generally at fault. However in some circumstances, the other driver may be at fault. For example, if the traffic light for the lane going straight was red and the traffic light for the left turn was green, then the driver making the left turn may not be at fault.

Would you like to discuss your legal matter?


image description
Jack Morgan CALL US! 866-205-4971

We will assist in scheduling new and existing clients for all offices. For initial consultations we will ask you a few questions and then find the best time for you to talk to one of the lawyers that best fits your legal matter.

Call us or use the email form and we will follow up with you right away.


The Law Offices of Hogan Injury will provide you with personalized attention and guidance. Protecting your rights is our main objective. We have been representing clients for the past 30 years and our experienced team of attorneys will advise you of the legal consequences of every decision you take.