Dealing with the repercussions of any car accident is frustrating. If the at-fault driver tries to lie about what happened, the situation can go from bad to worse, especially when insurance companies claim to believe the other person’s account of the incident. In a worst-case scenario, an innocent victim already dealing with injuries, property damage, and trauma may also wind up having to shoulder the blame.
Accident victims need to take steps to protect themselves. Those steps should start immediately after the accident because, if the other driver is lying about what happened, giving them extra time to come up with excuses will never help the case. Read on to find out what to do.
The importance of gathering evidence
If accident victims have not been injured to the point where it is unsafe for them to get up and move around, they should start gathering evidence immediately after the accident. Start by calling the police and be sure to ask for a copy of the report. In most cases, drivers are required by law to file a police report.
Injured drivers and passengers should also gather evidence in the form of photographs of their injuries and also of the damage to the car. In addition, photos of the area immediately surrounding the accident scene are a big plus. There may be evidence of what happened on the road, such as skid marks or damage that proves the other driver’s negligence.
Finally, stop to talk to any witnesses to the accident. Even if the at-fault driver lies, having witness statements that contradict their account can go a long way toward resolving the issue. Insurance companies know that courts are unlikely to believe lying drivers over credible witnesses. While most witnesses to accidents won’t sit down and write out reports on the scene, they should be willing to offer contact information.
What it takes to prove negligence
The purpose of collecting evidence at the scene is to get proof of the other driver’s negligence. If an accident victim believes that another person is responsible for the accident, it’s on them to prove that person’s negligence. The process involves providing evidentiary support of:
1. Duty of care
Every driver has an implied duty of care to others on the road. Legally, that duty of care is referred to as existing by operation of law.
2. Breach of duty
The accident victim will next have to provide evidence that the responsible driver breached their duty of care. In other words, the evidence must show that the driver acted negligently.
After proving that the driver acted negligently to breach their duty of care, the accident victim will need to prove causation. This can be difficult, but accident lawyers can help by reviewing evidence and, if necessary, finding expert witnesses to testify as to what it means.
In this context, damages refer to losses that have occurred as a result of the accident. They generally focus on injuries, whether physical, emotional, or mental.
Why accident victims should hire a lawyer
Accident victims have their work cut out for them if they have to prove that a negligent party is lying about what happened to their insurance company. Hiring a lawyer is by far the best way to handle the situation. Victims should seek legal representation before negotiating with insurance companies or making statements to anyone other than the police at the scene of the crash.
Featured image: Prostooleh/Freepik