Who is responsible for a traffic accident?

clip_image002In a previous article we covered what you need to remember if you are involved in a road traffic accident. Although you will most likely be in a state of shock, and may even be injured, you will probably want to try to establish who was responsible for the accident because of the potential implications on your car insurance and in order to protect your legal rights.

Whilst you are unlikely to ascertain who was at fault while at the scene there are steps you can take to make this easier after the incident. Firstly, it is important that you try to stay calm and you should not, under any circumstances, be verbal or aggressive towards any other drivers involved. Doing so will not help the situation and may reflect poorly on you, especially if the incident is taken to court.

Establishing who is responsible for a road traffic accident is not easy at the scene of an incident but whatever happens you should avoid admitting that the collision was your fault, even if it was. If you admit liability when you are not to blame then you may lose the chance of receiving compensation for any injuries the incident may have caused. Also, depending on your type of car insurance, you may not receive a courtesy car or settlement payments in this scenario.

One of the best ways to prove responsibility is to see if there are any witnesses who were not actually involved in the accident but saw the incident unfold. These days, it can be difficult to get someone to come forward as a witness but if you can then you need to make sure you have accurate contact details for them to back up your claims in future. At this point, your adrenaline levels are likely to be high and you will be more susceptible to making mistakes so it is a good idea to ask for a business card or request that they write their details down for you.

Even if you manage to find a willing witness you should always take photographic evidence of the accident. If possible take photos from different angles and distances and make sure you capture all the details including damage to your vehicle and any other vehicles, skid marks, the accidents site, examples of the weather at the time (puddles, ice etc), and any visible bodily injuries to you or anyone else involved. Photos that include this kind of detail can help investigators establish collision points, driving conditions and other contributing factors to the accident.

Additionally, if you suspect that any of the other drivers were on their mobile phone or feel they may have been distracted in some way then you should make clear notes and write down any reasoning that supports your claims. Your insurance company can then look into this and even speak to mobile service providers to clarify if the driver was on their phone or not.

After a road traffic accident you should provide a clear statement to the police as well as your insurance company that details what happened from your perspective. Ultimately it is up to investigators to establish what happened during the accident but it is your responsibility to gather enough evidence to support your statement.

Cooks Solicitors are experienced personal injury solicitors who can help you if you have been injured in a road traffic accident. For more information, please call 01782 713755 to discuss your case and to see how we can help you, or alternatively you can read our online guide for more information on road traffic accidents.

Agree? Disagree? Do let Cooks Solicitors know what you think by commenting below.

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