After a car accident, everyone wants to know: who caused the crash? The answer to that question matters. Under Nevada law, causing an accident leads to legal liability for the injuries and losses that result from it.
So, how do you tell who caused your car accident? In most cases, gathering and analyzing evidence with the help of an experienced car accident attorney usually points in the right direction.
Read on to learn more.
The Importance of Evidence
To figure out who caused your car accident, you need evidence. It will not do for you to simply tell insurance companies or courts who you think was at fault. To recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries, you need hard facts to prove that someone else’s careless or reckless actions led to your injuries. Here are some of the sources of evidence that can help identify whose actions hurt you.
Evidence From the Scene of the Accident
Numerous pieces of evidence come from the initial investigation that happens at the scene of the accident. Police officers and other first responders typically perform that initial investigation, but if you have not sustained serious injuries, you can collect some evidence on your own, too.
- Photos from the accident scene. Photos that show the damage to the vehicles involved in an accident and the injuries to accident victims sustained provide powerful evidence of how caused the crash. Often, based on those photos, expert witnesses can recreate the accident in a manner that points to who was at fault.
- Witness statements. Police officers often take statements from the drivers and passengers involved in the accident, and from witnesses who saw it unfold. Sometimes, witness statements give a different perspective on the accident than what may seem apparent from the damage to the vehicles. For example, in a rear-end collision, many people look at the damage to the vehicles and assume the trailing car slammed into the one in front. However, a witness might describe how, instead, the car in front accelerated in reverse into the trailing vehicle.
- Video evidence. These days, traffic cameras, dash cams, and business security cameras often capture the moment of an accident. In many cases, this evidence makes it easier to establish who caused an accident. It is important to secure this evidence as soon as possible after an accident, because many cameras only keep footage for a short period of time. An attorney can help you track down video camera owners.
- The police report. Finally, the police officer who responds to your accident scene will almost always prepare a report that collects a variety of evidence. The typical police report incorporates witness statements, diagrams, and photographs. Often, it also states a conclusion about who the officer believes was at fault. Remember, however, that is just one person’s opinion. The police report only reflects the preliminary investigation. With the help of an experienced car accident lawyer, you may find that the police officer overlooked critical information, or reached a faulty conclusion about whose actions led to your injuries.
Evidence From Beyond the Accident Scene
In many cases, evidence acquired from somewhere other than the accident scene will point to who caused your injuries. Oftentimes, a crash happens because of the actions of third parties who were nowhere near the accident when it actually occurred. Working with an attorney is the best way to find and exploit evidence pointing to those third parties, including:
- Evidence of mechanical failure. When mechanical failure causes an accident, third parties who contributed to the failure may have legal liability to you for money damages. These parties may include a mechanic who worked on the car shortly before the accident, or the manufacturer of the vehicle part that failed. Experienced car accident injury lawyers frequently work with forensic investigators trained in examining damaged vehicles to determine if a mechanical failure caused a crash, and if so, whose actions are to blame. If the evidence points in the direction of a third party, then you need the guidance of a skilled, seasoned attorney to pursue accountability; corporate third parties, in particular, have armies of lawyers who will fight hard to avoid admitting their fault for your injuries. Choose your lawyer carefully to make sure you battle just as hard for the compensation you deserve.
- Evidence of commercial driver fatigue or unsafe driving behaviors. Logbooks kept by commercial drivers can often provide valuable evidence about how long a driver had spent on the road before getting into an accident. Truck drivers, for example, are only allowed to spend 11 hours of each 14 hour shift on the road, after which they must rest for several hours before returning to their trip. The driver and/or his employer may have legal liability to you if a commercial driver exceeded the number of consecutive driving hours permitted by law. They may also share liability if the driver made dangerous decisions, such as by getting behind the wheel while ill or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Evidence of dangerous road conditions. Some road conditions—such as those caused by weather—are not within anyone’s reasonable control. How somebody drives in them, however, is not. Truck drivers need to take road conditions into account when it comes to speed and braking, among other things. Other road conditions should never have existed to begin with. Experienced lawyers know to take a hard look at the conditions on the road at the time of an accident to determine whether decisions about how the road was designed, built, or maintained led to the crash that injured you.
If that is where the evidence points, then lawyers may seek to hold government entities, road engineers, and construction contractors accountable.
Determining who caused an auto accident takes skill, intuition, and hard work on the part of a car accident injury attorney. Choose your attorney carefully.
Make sure you select someone with years of experience representing clients in accidents like yours, and who has a track record of success against even the most powerful defendants.
By contacting an attorney as soon as possible you can begin the process of investigating your accident and identifying all of the parties who owe you compensation.
Benson & Bingham
626 S 10th St
Las Vegas, NV 89101