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How to Prove Fault in an Auto Accident

Proving another driver is at fault for an auto accident is key to collecting compensation for injuries, wage loss and property damage

Determining fault for an auto accident in Tennessee, or anywhere for that matter, must be done before any judgments can be made.

Proving fault can be really easy sometimes – a drunk driver for example is clearly negligent if they hit someone else on the road. Much of the time, common sense will make proving fault easy. One doesn't need to be an auto accident attorney in Nashville or Knoxville to do that.

Having "official" proof though can help your case tremendously, making negotiations with the offending driver's insurance company or your auto accident/personal injury claim go much smoother.

Continue reading for 3 different ways you can obtain this "official" proof and establish who's at fault for an auto accident.

"No-Doubt" Liability

In some cases, it's pretty clear who's at fault for the collision. With very few exceptions, an insurance company will not argue who was at fault. However, they may still try and offer you a lower settlement not commiserate with your injuries and damages. The two primary types of "no-doubt" liability include:

  • Rear-end collisions

If you're hit from behind, it's almost always the fault of the following driver. Being able to stop safely is one of the most basic rules of the road. Even if you had to stop abruptly, it's still the responsibility of the driver following you to stop in time.

There are a few exceptions to this rule that may reduce your compensation. For example, if the accident occurred at night time and one of your brake lights were out, you can be held partially liable. Another example would be if you failed to adequately move your vehicle off of the roadway if it was disabled.

  • Left-turn accidents

If you were driving straight down the road and another car making a left turn hits you, they will be deemed responsible, or at-fault, for the accident. If there is damage to the front-end of one vehicle and the front right-side of another, it can be determined that a left-turn accident occurred.

There are exceptions to this rule too. If the car traveling straight was speeding excessively or ran a red light, they may in fact be liable for the auto accident.

Police Reports

For every auto accident that occurs, the police file a report on their observations and findings. Obtaining copies of these reports can be a big help in establishing fault for the collision. If fault is clear and obvious, the officer may state that in his report. Any mention of a traffic law violation or careless driving by the other vehicle is good proof of fault for an auto accident.

Traffic laws (state and local)

To obtain additional support for your claim, research Tennessee (state) and local traffic laws. Clearly demonstrating if someone violated a particular law will dramatically help your case.

You can research state driving laws through the Tennessee Department of Transportation website. Or, you can visit your local library for a copy of all current statutes related to auto accidents. Look for terms related to your particular case like "speed limits", "right of way", or "roadway markings."

If you think a particular law applies to your case – meaning it proves fault on the part of the other driver – write down the statute number and the exact text of the law.

To research any local laws (i.e. Knoxville or Nashville), visit your county courthouse or library for a copy of all local laws.

Even though you may be able to easily prove fault, obtaining the amount of compensation needed to treat your injuries and repair damages is another story.

This is where a Tennessee attorney experienced in auto accidents can help.

If you've been in an accident and need assistance in obtaining compensation, Knoxville auto accident attorneys at the Gilreath Law Firm can assist you in proving fault and bringing forward the strongest case possible.

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Tennessee Personal Injury Lawyers at Gilreath & Associates offer free and personal consultation to help you evaluate your legal options.
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