After a collision, fault for the accident is a common topic of dispute. In the heat of the moment, the driver of a vehicle may ignore all indications to the contrary in asserting that the driver in the other vehicle caused the crash. Such exchanges can become very heated, potentially making both motorists say and do things that they later regret.
The most important thing to do after being in a car accident is to take a breath and remain calm. Becoming angry will not get you anywhere, and it may cause problems at a later date.
If you are calm, however, you can take action at the scene to begin building your car accident case. The following steps are the best way to prove that your account of the accident is accurate and reliable:
Without proof of relevant details about the accident (such as the position of the vehicles, conditions at the scene, etc.), the basic facts may boil down to your version of events versus that of the other driver. To recover compensation, you need something more than just your word. Remember, then, that a picture is worth a thousand words.
Nothing establishes the truth about an accident better than photos substantiating what you observe at the scene. Some details may be obvious, such as the fact that the other driver struck your vehicle from behind. Others, however, may require expert analysis to determine what they mean, such as the direction and location of skid marks.
The majority of people today have a high-resolution camera right in their pockets. Use your smartphone camera to capture any and all images that you think may be relevant to your case.
Sometimes the drivers who cause accidents may argue that it is “their word against yours.” However, this is no longer true if one or more bystanders see the accident and their account supports your claim.
Talk to as many witnesses as you can in the aftermath of an accident, and be sure to take down their information if you need to speak to them again. Getting multiple perspectives is ideal, although even the testimony of just one credible witness to the accident can be beneficial for pursuing a claim against the other driver.
Law enforcement is not required to respond to every car accident scene. In Texas, for example, motorists are only required to report an accident to the police if it results in one or more of the following:
In cases of visible or obvious injury, nobody would hesitate to call 911. However, sometimes the existence of an injury is not immediately clear. Therefore, unless you are involved in a truly minor accident (such as a low-speed “fender bender”), it is in your best interest to ask for law enforcement to respond.
When the police arrive, tell the officer what you saw and experienced before the accident occurred and during the crash. Your emotions may be running high, but try to stay calm and stick to the facts. Your statement will be included in the police officer’s accident report, and you don’t want an exaggeration or suggestion of fault on your part to end up on the official record.
The police officer will also interview the other driver and any occupants of the vehicles, as well as take additional steps to investigate the scene. The police report may include a preliminary conclusion on how the accident happened and who is at fault.
Although not usually admissible in court, a finding of fault against the other driver can only strengthen your case. It also makes it more difficult for the at-fault driver to argue that you are to blame.
Taking these steps after a car accident is an ideal way to prevent your claim from just being your word against the other driver’s. However, it is not always safe or practical for accident victims to take these steps at the scene.
If you and/or a passenger is seriously hurt, getting medical attention should be the first priority. Unfortunately, this means that you will likely lose the opportunity immediately following the accident to gather evidence.
Hiring an attorney as soon as possible is essential. A lawyer can investigate and collect the evidence you couldn’t at the time, as well as go further by hiring experts to assess the facts and provide testimony. Expert analysis of photographs, damage to the vehicles, records of your injuries, and more can all improve the likelihood of a successful outcome in your car accident claim.
Attorneys are trained to examine arguments and evidence closely. If the facts don’t support what the other driver is saying, having a lawyer on your side can make an enormous difference in overcoming the “word versus word” problem that arises in the wake of many car accidents.
The aftermath of any accident is overwhelming. When emotions run high, it is not uncommon for the drivers involved to blame each other. Insurance companies do little to correct the mistaken impressions, half-truths, and even lies that an insured may raise. After all, if the insurance carrier can disclaim responsibility, the less it will have to pay.
Proving liability for a car accident is crucial for recovering the compensation you deserve. At Patrick Daniel Law, our team is Strategic, Meticulous, and Merciless. We fully investigate the accident to determine who is at fault and gather evidence to prove that you are entitled to damages.
Please call Patrick Daniel Law at (713) 999-6666 today for a free case review. Our car accident lawyer serves clients throughout Houston and all of Texas.