Florida relies on a no-fault system for car accident coverage. This allows each driver to collect payment from his or her own insurance company after a crash. However, if the injuries from an accident are severe, or cause lifelong difficulty, the victim can pursue a car accident claim against the at-fault driver.
In order to get proper compensation after a serious accident, the victim (and the victim’s attorney) have to be able to prove that the at-fault driver made a mistake, was negligent, or was otherwise responsible for causing the crash.
Ways to Prove Fault in a Car Accident Case
Even if it seems obvious to everyone involved in the crash, fault can be difficult to prove. In order to establish liability, you have to collect evidence that you were following traffic laws and the other driver was not. Most of the proof in your case is taken directly from the crash scene, but there are some worthwhile pieces of evidence that can be gathered after the incident, including:
- Police reports. Serious accidents often have police and emergency responders on the scene. Officers are required to fill out official reports about the accident, and these reports are full of the police officer’s observations and notes on the crash. The official report is one of the major pieces of evidence in proving liability, as it can include information on driver behavior, suspicions of drinking or drug use, and whether any traffic citations were issued at the scene of an accident. You should always request a copy of the police report after it's filed.
- Photos. Pictures allow a judge and jury to easily see the damage done to your vehicle and the injuries you sustained. These images show the extent of your losses, and help to prove liability. Information regarding the location and extent of the damage to your car may be used as an indication of how fast the other car was traveling and the position of the car before you were struck. Pictures of the accident site, including posted traffic signs, skid marks, debris, obstructions, and other objects on the roadway, can go even further in determining fault.
- Documents. Repair statements and medical records may resolve any disputes about the seriousness of your injuries. Towing records, bills from mechanics and body shops, and statements from your doctors can refute claims from the other driver that your injuries weren't severe.
- Statements. If there were witnesses present at the crash scene, request a recorded or written statement of their observations. For example, two or three people who saw the accident who all agree on the mistakes made by the other driver can greatly benefit your case.
- Traffic laws. State traffic laws, also known as the vehicle code, are publicly posted online and explain in plain language what is and what isn't legal behavior on the road. Citing the exact wording and section of the traffic code that was violated by the other driver can help you prove your argument in court.
- Type of crash. Some accidents are known as “no-doubt” crashes due to the nature of the collision. For instance, rear-end collisions are almost always the fault of the driver in the following car, since he or she did not leave adequate following distance. Similarly, a driver turning left in an intersection is almost always liable for a crash with a vehicle traveling straight in the opposite direction.
While Florida law requires a victim to suffer permanent injury in order to pursue a car accident case, this is generally accepted to mean an injury that has cost the victim over $10,000. A successful case can not only cover the accident costs, but also allow a victim to recover damages for pain, suffering, and mental anguish. Our accident attorneys don't charge any upfront fees in injury cases, so call us today for an evaluation of your case.