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Proving Fault in Car Accident Cases

Car accidents are one of the most common causes of injuries, which often result in personal injury claims. As with other types of personal injury, it is necessary to determine who was careless or negligent. How do you prove fault? Here are a few suggestions.

First of all, it is important to note that insurance companies will not simply accept your argument or claim that someone else was at fault. Having your claim settled fairly will usually require strong support, and in many cases the support of an attorney who can successfully argue on your behalf.

Police reports often include the police officer's opinion of whose fault an accident was. If a citation was issued to a motorist, it can be a strong indication of who was at fault. In addition, when an individual violates a certain traffic law that results in an accident, if it is noted in the police report this can be vital support for your claim.

State traffic laws or vehicle codes. In every state including Florida, there are state laws, often referred to as vehicle codes, that govern driving. Essentially, these "Rules of the Road" contained in the state statutes help support your claim of what happened in your accident. Whether someone was exceeding the speed limit, ignored a traffic light or yield/stop sign, or in some other way violated the traffic laws or vehicle codes, it could help when negotiating your claim with your own or the responsible party's insurance company. Most of these vehicle codes can be found at a law library, or even online. Florida Statutes Title XXIII Motor Vehicle Chapter 316 can be found here.

Witness testimony. An objective witness (one who would be impartial to either party) may be supportive in your efforts to establish liability to the insurance company. Someone who witnessed the accident may be willing to provide testimony should your case go to trial, or a statement in support of your claim with the insurance company. In addition, expert witnesses (often referred to as accident reconstruction experts) may also be able to help, as these experts can closely examine skid marks, photographs, damage to vehicles, electronic data, and other objective evidence in order to form an opinion regarding who was at fault.

No-doubt liability. In certain types of accidents, there is little doubt as to who was at fault. This is usually true in left-turn accidents and rear-end collisions. In a rear-end collision, it is the fault of the driver who struck the vehicle in front of him/her 99% of the time. Drivers are supposed to maintain a safe distance, so that in the event the car in front of them stops suddenly or for any reason, they can safely stop without causing an accident.

With left-turn accidents, the person who made the turn is nearly always found at fault, although there are exceptions to the rule. For example, if the car coming from the other direction as the vehicle made the left-turn was driving at speeds well over the speed limit, the driver may be responsible. The same is true if the car that was coming straight on ran a red light, striking the vehicle making the left-turn.

Florida is a "no-fault" car insurance state, which means that drivers are required to carry PIP, or personal injury protection, benefits. Essentially, if you suffer injuries or are unable to work because of your injuries, your own policy will pay for medical costs, lost income, and other losses regardless of who was at fault in the accident. However, there is an "injury threshold" in which the liable party's insurance company may pay the damages, but this only applies when the injuries are considered permanent or disfiguring, or in some way disabling.

If you have been involved in a car accident, contact the Orlando personal injury attorneys at Adams & Luka immediately for exceptional legal guidance and support.

Client Reviews

I would like thank my attorney Thomas Luka. I knew from the beginning I had the right guy in my corner. While celebrating with family and friends at a Public Park in Seminole County, a fight broke out among various people. Myself, and a good friend, broke up the fight and the instigators left. Six months later, I was wrongly accused as the person who started the fight. The first attorney I hired could not even get a response from the State Attorney handling the case. Someone referred me to Tom and I felt comfortable at his demeanor and reactions.

After conversations with Tom, who knew I would settle for nothing less than a FULL DISMISSAL due to my innocence, I hired him. His firm of Adams and Luka did the due diligence by interviewing witnesses and the police who were on the scene, as well as starting a dialogue with the State Attorney. After gathering statements from witnesses, Tom was able to present a strong argument on my behalf to the State Attorney on why the case should be dismissed. If the State Attorney was not willing to dismiss the case, Tom was ready to take the case to trial.

The result by Thomas Luka: Case Dismissed.

I am 53 years old with a spotless record and glad to keep it that way thanks to the time, effort, hard work, and professionalism of the Adams and Luka and Tom Luka.

Earl from Mesquite
Thomas Luka left a life-long great impression of lawyers. He was always professional, on time, and answered things honestly. From the start and during the 14 months it went on - Tom was very upfront and honest with me about the possible outcomes. The result was better than I had hoped for. Tom really over-delivered. HIGHLY RECOMMEND. Marcela Giorgi
Adams and Luka were very professional and savvy in the courtroom. When you're in court with Mr. Luka you will think you have the best attorney there. I recommend this law firm. Pioneer Tech
Rich Adams is an outstanding criminal attorney. I have had the opportunity to refer several friends and clients to his practice for handling of criminal matters, and on every occasion he has produced an excellent result. Rich practices with attention to detail, a thorough knowledge of the law, and a passion to defend his clients. I will continue to refer clients to Rich Adams, and would strongly recommend him for your legal needs. Brian Pink