Determining Car Accident Fault By Location of Damage
After a car accident, there are a variety of different methods that can be used to help determine who was at fault for the collision. The location of the vehicle damage may be significant to both determining fault and your claim for recovery. This is because the position of vehicle damage can shed light on the circumstances leading up to the crash.
Vehicle damage is one of several things to consider when you’re investigating your case. It’s important to understand the details of using location to determine fault as this is not always a sure fire way to ensure a successful outcome in your auto accident case. Here’s how vehicle damage may play a role in your case.
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Why Damage Can Help Determine Fault
The location of impact and the damage to the vehicles can say a lot about how a traffic crash occurred. By looking at where the damage is on the automobile, you can work backward to determine how the accident may have happened.
For two objects to have a collision, there must be forces at work. If your vehicle travels in a specific direction at a particular speed, it’s likely to cause a certain type of damage on impact with another vehicle. By examining both vehicles, you can start to narrow down what must have happened to cause your accident.
In some cases, the damage tells the entire story. When looking at the damage to your vehicle, it’s possible that there’s only one way that it could have occurred. If that’s the case, all you need to do is help the jury connect the dots. Our Las Vegas and Henderson car accident attorneys are experts at assisting juries to connect those dots.
In other cases, the vehicle damage can help you rule out ways that the accident could not have occurred. In those cases, the damage might not definitively answer the question of fault, but it can be a good starting point to narrow down the possible chain of events.
When Damage Proves Fault
There are times when damage can go a long way in proving fault in a Nevada car crash. For example, if you’re rear-ended, you’ll have damage to the back of your vehicle. The car behind you will have damage to the front of their vehicle.
In most cases, the vehicle in the back is at fault. Because the vehicle behind you failed to comply with Nevada traffic laws when they didn’t leave enough stopping distance, they’re usually at fault for a rear-end crash.
When Damage Doesn’t Prove Fault
In other cases, damage alone may not tell the entire story. For example, if you have damage to your left passenger side and the other driver has damage to their front end, the damage alone may not definitively answer the question of fault. Most likely, the damage occurred when they hit you as you tried to turn left.
However, that doesn’t answer the question of who had the right of way. If your light was green and they ran a red light, they’re at fault. However, if you tried to turn left on a red when you didn’t have the right of way, then you’re at fault. The location of the damage alone doesn’t offer enough information. In that case, you need to rely on witness testimony to determine who acted negligently.
Looking at Damage and Other Evidence
The location of the damage is often only one piece of the puzzle. Your car accident attorney will consider damage location as well as speeds, acceleration, weather, tire marks, intoxication, and other personal characteristics of the drivers to piece together what happened. They’ll talk to witnesses and analyze whatever issues may be relevant in your case.
How to Preserve Evidence of Damage
In order to use the location of damage to determine car accident fault, it’s helpful to preserve evidence of the damage. That way, the other side can’t say that you’re not telling the truth or that you are misremembering things. To start, you can collect photos at the accident scene. You can use the camera on your phone or any simple camera to snap a few pictures. It’s best to err on the side of taking too many photos instead of wishing later on that you had taken more.
How to Document Damage
When you’re taking photos, it’s important to remember not just to take photographs of your vehicle. Take pictures of all of the other vehicles involved. You may also want to take photos of skid marks on the road. If there’s debris, the location of the debris can be beneficial later on. A comprehensive view of the accident scene can also help your legal team piece together what occurred.
Asking for an Inspection
You may also want to inspect the other vehicle. You might use Nevada Rule of Civil Procedure 34 to request an inspection. You will likely need to work very quickly to make this request.
Other Ways to Document Damage
You might receive an estimate for repairs from a car repair shop. This estimate might include a helpful list of things wrong with your vehicle from a skilled mechanic’s perspective. It’s also important to call law enforcement to the accident scene.
The police are often the only ones who have the luxury of looking at the crash scene live. Your attorney may supplement their work by returning to the crash scene, but the police can gather valuable evidence of the damage on the scene immediately after the crash.
Using an Accident Reconstructionist
Many times, crash victims work with accident reconstruction experts to determine how the location of the damage explains how a crash occurred. They can apply physics to all of the relevant circumstances of the case.
With their training and experience, they can help the jury connect the dots to reach the right conclusion based on the evidence. An accident reconstructionist is an expert witness, so it’s essential to work with your attorney on how to present this type of evidence.
Building Your Case
Although this type of evidence can be immensely helpful to your case, the location of vehicle damage is only one piece of the puzzle in a car accident case. Evidence of the location of the damage can help you build your case and determine how the crash occurred. These considerations are crucial for reaching a favorable outcome in your case, should the fact support it.
Experienced Las Vegas car accident attorneys can help you build on the evidence and prepare your case in the best possible light. It’s essential to work with a lawyer after a car crash, no matter how minor, to ensure your rights are protected, and you have the support you need to make a full recovery.
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With more than 31 years of experience fighting for victims of personal injury in the Las Vegas valley, Attorney Adam S. Kutner knows his way around the Nevada court system and how to get clients their settlement promptly and trouble-free.
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