One of the most often-asked questions after a car accident is: “Who was at fault?” The reason fault is an important discussion in terms of car accidents is that the driver who was responsible for causing the accident is generally responsible for compensating the expenses and impacts that another person incurs as a result. Some drivers will attempt to avoid being found liable for an accident so that they can avoid this consequence.
If you have been injured or have suffered property damage as a result of another driver’s negligence, there are some telltale signs that can help you know if another driver is trying to avoid liability. Here is a look at three of those signs, as well as information on how a knowledgeable car accident lawyer can help you gather the evidence and information you need to prove liability to obtain the compensation you need.
1. The Driver Leaves the Scene Without Offering Information
After an accident occurs that involves physical injuries or significant property damage, most states require the accident to be promptly reported to law enforcement and for a police officer to then go to the scene to investigate and determine who was at fault. Drivers who have been involved in car accidents also have a legal responsibility to exchange contact and insurance information with each other for the purpose of reporting the accident to their respective insurance companies. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than 737,000 traffic-related accidents involve one of the drivers leaving the scene without exchanging information or speaking with police investigators — around one accident every 43 seconds.
Why do drivers flee? Avoiding liability for the accident is one major reason. Other reasons include a driver who is wanted by the police avoiding the potential of being captured at the accident scene or an unlicensed driver seeking to avoid the consequences of having been caught operating a motor vehicle without a license.
2. The Driver Offered to Pay You Cash if You Do Not Report the Accident
Suppose that a car accident happened. After checking on their passengers and attempting to get their vehicle out of the roadway to avoid additional crashes involving other vehicles approaching the scene, the drivers begin exchanging information, and one driver says to the other: “Let’s just settle this here. I will pay you $500 if you don’t report the accident.” For all the reasons that a driver would not want to remain at the scene until police arrive, they might also hesitate to offer their information.
There are many reasons to report an accident both to the police as well as to your insurance provider. State laws require the information to be reported, as do the contractual terms of most auto insurance policies. Beyond that, if you realize hours or days after the accident that you are injured but you agreed not to take down the other driver’s information or report the accident, it will be difficult to prove that the accident was the cause of your injury or that the other driver was involved.
3. The Driver Tells Investigators that You (or Someone Else) Caused the Crash
The blame game is not an uncommon occurrence at car accident scenes. Many investigators are trained to talk to the parties involved in the accident separately in order to keep the conversations productive and avoid an altercation at a time when emotions are running high. If a driver was already telling you what you should have done to avoid the accident before the police even arrive, it is a good bet that they are planning to tell the police what they think you did wrong as well.
Likewise, drivers can emerge from their crashed vehicles with excuses that involve the roadway, other vehicles, or even pedestrians or animals in the roadway. While arguing about the facts of the accident at the scene is not generally the best way to get to the truth of the matter, drivers who have photos from the scene depicting the damage to both vehicles and who have been able to obtain the contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident can help their case when it comes time to prove liability.
How an Attorney Can Help You Prove Liability
The term liability refers to the legal responsibility that drivers have to compensate those they have harmed through negligence. Negligence is proven by showing that the driver was using a public roadway when the accident occurred, therefore owing others on the roadway a duty of care, that the duty of care was breached when the driver failed to take reasonable actions to avoid a collision, and that this breach was the cause of the accident that resulted in injury.
When you hire a personal injury lawyer to help you with your claim, they will perform a thorough investigation of the details of your case in search of evidence and witness testimony that can prove these elements. They can determine from this investigation who was liable for the accident, as well as the insurance resources that the at-fault party has that can be used to cover the expenses and impacts you incurred. They can perform many other types of services as well, such as establishing a value to your claim, negotiating a settlement, or even representing you in court if necessary.
Injured in a Car Accident in Pennsylvania? Contact RGSG
One of the most traumatic circumstances an individual can endure involves injuries from a car accident. The last thing most people who have been injured due to someone else’s negligence want to do is undertake a legal effort in order to obtain compensation for the financial and psychological impacts of the accident. Luckily, the talented legal team at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford, P.C. can focus on this legal effort while you focus on your physical recovery.
If you were injured in an accident and the other driver is trying to avoid liability, it is important to get legal advice from a professional who understands the personal injury claims process and provides services that include assistance in determining and proving liability. For your free case evaluation, contact us online or by calling (215) 822-7575.