If you suffer injury in a car accident that was another driver’s fault, you should receive compensation from that driver. But who determines fault in a car accident? Simply put, the insurance company or the court.
To receive proper compensation for your losses after a car crash, you need to convince an insurance company, a judge, or a jury that the other driver was to blame. This is not an easy process, and it often requires the help of an attorney if you want to succeed. Our award-winning trial attorneys at Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C. know the ins and outs of winning car accident cases and are here to help you. Contact us today.
Recovering Damages in a Car Accident
You can recover damages from an accident by either settling your case with the other driver’s insurance company or winning a lawsuit against the other driver. Whether you choose to settle or litigate, you should make an accident claim with the insurance first. The other driver’s insurance will investigate the facts of your accident to decide who is at fault. If they determine their driver is at fault, they will review information about your accident-related medical needs and financial losses to calculate how much money they owe you.
However, the insurance company’s agreement that their driver was at fault does not mean the settlement they offer you is fair. An attorney should review any settlement offer you receive before you accept. Your attorney can make sure a settlement adequately covers what you need and deserve. If the offer is insufficient or the insurance blames you for the accident, you can resolve your case by taking it to court.
Deciding Who Is At Fault in a Car Accident
A driver is liable for a car accident if their negligence or intentional misconduct caused the crash. The resolution of many car accident cases depends on proving one of the drivers was negligent.
So when is another driver negligent in a crash? Another driver is negligent and at fault when they:
- Owe the accident victim a duty of care,
- Fail to meet the duty of care they owe,
- Cause an accident because of their failure, and
- Harm the accident victim.
The “duty of care” that another driver owes you could be their duty to drive safely, follow traffic laws, or keep their car in good working order.
How Do You Prove Fault in a Car Accident?
Many pieces of information are important for proving another driver’s fault in an accident.
File a Police Report
Your first step to proving that another driver’s negligence or misconduct caused your car accident is to report your accident to the police. This should be done at the scene of the accident.
In fact, Colorado law requires you to immediately report your accident to the police if there is a death, bodily injury, or property damage. After you report your accident, you need to obtain a copy of the report by submitting a request and fee to the Division of Motor Vehicles. The information in your accident report can help you prove who was at fault, and you will likely need to submit a copy to the insurance company.
Keep Detailed Notes About How the Accident Occurred
Take notes about as many details as you can remember from your accident. You can use the following questions as prompts:
- Was the other driver speeding?
- Were the other driver’s blinkers, headlights, and brake lights working?
- Was the other driver swerving or driving recklessly?
- Did the other driver appear intoxicated?
- Were any parts on the other driver’s car loose or missing?
- Was the other driver’s car leaking fluids or smoking?
- Did the other driver obey traffic signs and lights?
Tell your attorney all the details of your car accident. An experienced auto accident attorney can identify which duties another driver failed to meet at the time of your crash.
Collect Witness Information
The testimony of witnesses is sometimes the crux of winning at trial or prevailing in settlement negotiations. If you can, make sure you collect the names and contact information of any accident witnesses before you leave the scene. You can present this information to the insurance company for their investigation, and you can call these witnesses at trial. Your accident report should also contain information about witnesses.
Hire an Attorney
Sometimes you need sophisticated tools to prove that you deserve compensation for a car accident. These tools can include accident reconstruction experts, auto experts, and legal motions to compel important documents from the other driver. An experienced attorney is in the best position to access and use these tools to your advantage.
Gather Evidence that Proves You Were Not At Fault for the Accident
To recover damages in an accident, you need to prove that the other driver was at fault and that you had little to no fault. Colorado is a comparative fault state, which means that your trial award will be reduced by the percentage of fault you had in the accident. And if you were more at fault than the other driver, you cannot recover at all.
To recover the most compensation at trial or in a settlement, you need to prove that you had no fault or minimal fault in the accident. Evidence you can use to prove this includes:
- Vehicle service reports from immediately before the accident to prove your car was in good shape,
- Your testimony,
- Other witness testimony, and
- Testimony from an accident reconstruction expert.
Once again, a skilled attorney is in the best position to prove your lack of fault to the insurance company and the court.
Reach Out to Our Car Accident Attorneys
At Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C., we have more than 75 years of experience. And when you speak to us, you receive personal attention from our principal attorneys and access to an attorney who is also a doctor. Attorney and partner Eric L. Steiner, M.D. has over 18 years of medical experience.
Whether your case is simple or complex, our Denver attorneys are equipped to answer your call for help and protect your rights. Contact us today.