How Do I Prove Liability in a Car Accident Claim?
Posted on behalf of Edwards Law Firm on Jul 12, 2017 in Auto Accidents
The aftermath of a car accident can be a stressful, painful and expensive experience. When seeking compensation for your suffering and loss, it is important to be able to determine which party is at-fault and liable for the damages.
At The Edwards Law Firm, our dedicated Tulsa car accident attorneys have represented many car accident claims and know what it takes to prove the other party’s liability. We have provided this guide to help you understand how to identify a liable party in a car accident in order to recover the compensation you deserve.
If you have any questions or need legal help after an auto accident in Tulsa, do not hesitate to contact us for a free, no obligation consultation.
Ask for a Copy of the Police Accident Report
One of the most effective ways to prove liability in a car accident is to obtain a copy of the police report.
Law enforcement will usually respond to an auto accident scene if the collision injured or killed someone.
The responding law enforcement officer will conduct an on-scene investigation where he or she interviews witnesses, notes the position of the vehicles, details the damage sustained by each party and identifies possible surveillance equipment that might have footage of the collision. The law enforcement officer will also conclude who he or she believes is at-fault for the collision.
You should request a copy of the accident report as soon as the responding law enforcement officer has concluded the investigation. This report may provide an official statement with most of the information you need to prove which party was at-fault for the accident.
Our attorneys will then use the police collision report as evidence to construct your case.
Collect the Other Driver’s Information
The time immediately following an auto collision is crucial, and you should be prepared for what to do after an accident. If you are physically able, you should make sure everyone is safe and identify any potential injuries that need medical attention.
Once you have done this, you should exchange information with all other parties involved, including:
- Phone number
- Vehicle identification number
- License plate number
- Date of birth
- Insurance number and provider
You will also want to know how many people were involved in the auto accident and carefully note their positions during the collision, such as motorist, passenger or pedestrian.
Document the Damage
Once you have spoken with the other parties involved in the collision, you should carefully document any vehicle damage or property damage that you notice.
This will provide us with objective evidence that we can use to accurately assess your claim. As you gather evidence during the accident scene, try to document the location and positions of the vehicles after the collision. You should also attempt to record the severity of the damage your vehicle suffered. Having this information may help us reconstruct the events leading up to and during the collision.
Also, when you speak with the other motorists involved in your car accident, try to note their reactions, body language and any comments they may make. If another party acts dodgy or suspicious when you ask questions, make a note of this and collect that individuals name and contact information for our attorneys.
Know and Understand Oklahoma’s Traffic Laws
One of the most important tools you have on your side when determining liability in a car accident is knowing whether the other motorists violated any of Oklahoma’s traffic laws.
You can view Oklahoma’s traffic laws online, or obtain a copy from your nearest DMV office that you may keep in your vehicle for future reference.
If you are able to recognize that the other party violated one of the state’s traffic laws, we may be able to use this as grounds for proving negligence.
In order to prove the at-fault party is liable for your car accident, you must prove his or her negligence caused the collision. There are four elements required for proving negligence:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty to act or refrain from acting in a certain manner to ensure your safety
- The at-fault party breached this duty
- This breach of duty caused you to suffer an injury
- You suffered actual damages (medical expenses, lost wages, etc.) because of your injury
Being able to prove negligence is one of the most important parts of determining liability in a car accident claim. Our attorneys are experienced in recognizing when negligence occurs and will work to build a case that establishes the at-fault party’s negligence caused your traffic collision.
Oklahoma’s Negligence Law
In Oklahoma, the rule of contributory negligence is used to determine damages in personal injury claims, such as car accident injuries.
Contributory negligence examines the actions of the victim to determine if he or she played any role in causing the accident resulting in his or her injuries.
For instance, you suffered whiplash during a car accident that occurred when you were struck by another vehicle changing lanes. However, it is later discovered that you were speeding at the time of the collision.
Under Oklahoma’s version of contributory negligence, the damages for your claim may be reduced in proportion to your level of negligence. If your negligence is found to be greater than the at-fault party’s, you are barred from recovering compensation.
Contact our Experienced Auto Accident Attorneys
If you are filing a claim for a car accident injury, you will need the help of an accomplished attorney with experience representing auto collision victims.
At the Edward’s Law Firm, our team of reputable Tulsa personal injury attorneys are ready to work for your claim and help you recover maximum compensation for your injury and financial losses.
We work only on a contingency fee and do not charge clients upfront for our services, which means you only have to pay us if we recover damages for your claim.