In the aftermath of any auto accident, the most important thing is tending to any injuries that happened. After human lives, of course, the biggest thing people worry about is money! Establishing liability after a car accident is incredibly important when it comes to all the legal proceedings that will follow the crash. If you’ve had an accident or you just want to be prepared, here are some important things to know about proving liability.
First of all, a police report of the incident. If the collision is minor enough, the police won’t even be sent out. However, if they are, the leading officer will have to write up an official report. If the police do arrive at the scene of your accident, then it’s important to ask them where you can get a copy of the official report. If police officers don’t show up at all, then you’ll have to go to the nearest station and report the accident. You’ll still receive an official report, but the fact that no police came to the scene may affect the case later. However you acquire it, police reports are powerful pieces of evidence when you’re trying to shift liability.
Although the police are authority figures, it doesn’t mean that individual officers are perfect at their job. Inaccuracies can and do crop up in police reports. Be sure to scour yours for any kind of mistakes which could affect your legal position. Factual errors, along with smaller mistakes like vehicle and insurance information, should all be amended before you get in too deep with litigation. If you use a police report in court that turns out to be inaccurate, the best car accident attorneys in the world won’t be able to help you! Amending a disputed fact in the report can often be complicated, depending on your local bylaws. Hopefully though, it will be as simple as adding a statement from you to the police report. Whatever you do, don’t let these inaccuracies go unchecked!
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Even if you’ve got all the facts straightened out, it can be hard to figure out which driver is actually liable. The first thing you should check is your state traffic laws. Also known as the vehicle code, these are traffic laws which apply in your state only. From many sources, they’re written into simplified “rules of the road” pages. However, if these aren’t helping you, it may be worth looking up the laws exactly as they’re worded. After you’ve become a little more well-versed in the laws which apply to the incident, you’ll be in a much stronger position. That is, if it proves you weren’t liable! Negotiations with the other driver’s insurance company and your own will become much easier to handle. If you’re unlucky and it comes to actual litigation, knowing the relevant law can be very helpful.
I hope this post has made the whole subject of liability a little less complicated. These kinds of legalese can be stressful, but necessary for justice to run its course. Hopefully though, you’ll never need this information!
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