Can Fault Be Determined by Car Accident Damage?
Posted in Car Accidents on March 17, 2022
In Missouri, negligent drivers are financially responsible for any accident they cause. To secure compensation in a car insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, you will need to establish the other driver’s fault.
Proving liability can be very complex, especially if it is unclear who caused the collision or if multiple parties may be at fault. However, you could leverage certain pieces of evidence to help determine fault, including vehicle damage.
How to Prove a Car Accident Claim in Missouri
Car accidents happen every day on Missouri roads, often leading to serious injuries and extensive vehicle damage. Thanks to the state’s fault insurance laws, victims of motor vehicle collisions have the right to pursue claims against negligent drivers and recover compensation to pay for these losses.
You can recover a settlement in your claim if you can prove the other driver’s fault or liability. There are four elements that you will need to establish in order to prove fault: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
- Duty: The at-fault driver owed you a duty of care at the time of the accident. In Missouri, all drivers have a duty to drive safely and follow traffic laws.
- Breach of Duty: The at-fault driver breached his or her duty of care. Examples of driver negligence may include running a red light, driving over the speed limit, or operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Causation: The at-fault party’s breach of duty caused your car accident. For example, say that a driver runs a red light and collides into the side of your vehicle. The accident would not have occurred if the driver had upheld his or her duty of care and stopped at the light.
- Damages: You sustained damages that you can collect in your claim, such as property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Can Vehicle Damage Help Prove Fault?
Many pieces of evidence can help determine fault in a car accident, including surveillance footage, witness testimony, and medical records. You can also use the physical damage to your vehicle as a way to identify the at-fault driver and prove his or her liability.
By looking at vehicle damage following an accident, an insurance adjuster or expert witness can help determine what happened during the collision. For example, the severity of the damage can help investigators determine how fast a vehicle was traveling or how hard the impact was. Cars only activate airbags under certain conditions, so if your airbag was deployed, your vehicle likely sustained a severe impact.
The location of the damage can also tell investigators a great deal about your accident. For example, investigators can look at the damaged parts of both vehicles and identify what each vehicle was doing at the time of the accident. For example, if you are hit at an intersection and your vehicle only has damage to the passenger side, investigators may determine that you were turning left.
Speak to an Attorney about Your Missouri Car Accident
Proving liability in a Missouri car accident can be complex. In these situations, it is important to speak with a lawyer who can represent your case and help you prove the other driver’s fault. A Kansas City car accident attorney can conduct a full investigation into your accident and enlist expert witnesses who can testify on your behalf, such as accident reconstruction specialists. Contact an attorney as soon as possible following your accident to discuss your legal options.