How to Dispute Fault for a Car Accident

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Determining fault is the first step in winning compensation for a car accident victim. However, there are cases in which the responsible party attempts to shift fault to the victim instead of herself.

If a jury believes the defendant’s arguments, this could potentially lessen the amount of damages that will be awarded to the victim. Even if it seems obvious that the other driver caused the accident, a victim should never assume that fault is a clear-cut issue.

It takes strong evidence and the advocacy of seasoned legal counsel to make your argument that the other driver is to blame. That’s where our Greenville, SC car accident lawyers at David R. Price, Jr., P.A. come in. We invite you to contact us if you’ve been blamed for a car accident that isn’t your fault.

Why Must Fault Be Determined in a Car Crash?

Fault is an important aspect of any South Carolina car accident case. The party who is held to be at fault (or, more typically, their insurance company) is responsible for paying the victim’s medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.

Whether negotiating out of court with the insurer or arguing in front of a jury, the question of fault must be settled before the victim can receive compensation.

Fault serves another role in these cases. South Carolina operates under a legal rule known as comparative negligence. If a victim is found to be partially at fault for causing the accident, the amount of compensation he or she receives could be significantly reduced.

For instance, an at-fault driver may have run a red light and crashed into the victim. However, it could be determined that the victim was also driving too fast for the road’s conditions. A jury may therefore decide that the victim was 20% responsible for causing the accident. In that case, the victim’s damages would be decreased by 20%.

If the victim’s share of fault is high enough, he or she cannot recover any damages. In South Carolina, once the victim’s fault exceeds 50%, that person is barred from receiving monetary compensation. For these reasons, a crash victim must prove who deserves what percentage of fault in order to get full and fair compensation.

How Can You Dispute Fault in an Auto Accident?

One of a personal injury lawyer’s most important roles is to defend his client’s interests in a car accident claim. This includes not only working to prove the required elements of a personal injury lawsuit, but also challenging any attempt to blame the victim for the crash. Accomplishing these dual goals requires an understanding of the law, but also having compelling evidence that can be presented to the insurer or in court.

The following types of evidence can strengthen your auto accident claim:

  • Photographs and videos: Taking photographs and recording videos of the car accident scene can document key evidence such as skid marks and damage to the victim’s vehicle. The victim should also take pictures and videos of their injuries.
  • Dashcam or surveillance footage: Many drivers use dashcam systems that capture the events leading up to the accident. There may also be surveillance cameras in the vicinity that can prove how the at-fault driver caused the wreck.
  • Eyewitness statements: Witnesses, especially those who are not friends or relatives of the victim, can provide objective third-party corroboration of the victim’s account. If there were any witnesses to your accident, get their contact information and pass it along to your attorney.
  • Phone records: Distracted driving is a common cause of automobile accidents and happens because of making calls or sending texts while driving. Phone records can therefore be used to show that the defendant was liable.
  • Medical records: The victim’s medical records will substantiate the nature and severity of his or her injuries. This will help support the amount of damages being demanded, including so-called non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
  • Victim statement: The victim’s recollection of events surrounding the crash can serve as evidence. As soon as possible write down everything you can remember about the accident.
  • Expert witness testimony: An expert witness is an individual with technical or specialized knowledge whose testimony can assist with a dispute about fault for a car accident. For instance, an accident reconstructionist can piece together the wreck and point to the at-fault party’s responsibility for what happened.

Can You Dispute Car Accident Reports?

After a car accident, it is customary for law enforcement to show up at the scene, investigate what happened, and generate an accident report that contains details about the wreck.

The report may contain such information as:

  • The identities of the drivers
  • The year, make, model, and tag numbers of the vehicles involved
  • A description of road and environmental conditions, such as poor weather
  • An explanation of what happened
  • Any observable signs of fault, such as skid marks
  • Witness statements
  • Whether any traffic laws were broken

While the police report can provide powerful evidence regarding fault, it is not a final determination of who was responsible for the accident.

The at-fault party may attempt to use this report to blame the victim, in which case either the report itself can be challenged or evidence like that listed above can be presented. The police report is just one person’s determination of the evidence. It should never be viewed in isolation from other proof, regardless of whether it helps the victim’s or the defendant’s case.

Contact Our Car Accident Attorneys If You’ve Been Accused of Fault

Our car accident attorneys know the laws and rules surrounding auto accident claims, including those that pertain to comparative negligence. We understand not only the types of evidence that can bolster the victim’s case but also that which can refute any attempt to shift fault to the victim.

Our attorneys can help you obtain the necessary proof to tell your side and help prepare it for admission under the rules of evidence. We work hard, where possible, to settle car accident cases with the at-fault party’s insurance company and lawyer. As experienced trial lawyers, in the event these parties won’t negotiate in good faith, we aren’t afraid to take your case to court.

Have you been injured in a car accident, and the other driver won’t admit fault? Let us help you seek the maximum amount of damages so you can get your life back on track. Use our online form to connect with David R. Price, Jr., P.A. today or call [phone].


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