In a car wreck, everything becomes a blur, which may obscure the facts. Your version of events may differ completely from another driver’s, and you just may wonder who happens to be closer to the truth. Other times, neither party is certain who is truly at fault.
When you have a serious personal injury as a result of a car accident, being unsure of fault can be the worst way to argue your case. To combat this issue, you and your personal injury attorney will investigate the circumstances of the accident rigorously. The results of this investigation will allow you to concretely allege fault with enough certainty to put a number on it.
Here is how that process works as well as some important factors that may affect it, such as hiring a car accident lawyer:
Using Physical Evidence from the Car Accident Scene
After exchanging information with other drivers, checking their condition and contacting emergency services before contacting your insurer, taking photos of the car accident scene comes next in importance. You will want close up photos of all the damage areas on your vehicle, both interior and exterior. The condition of the other vehicles may also be important to indicate trajectory and potentially the actions of the other drivers, so get photos of that as well if possible.
You will also want photos of the scene as a whole. Take a few steps back to capture debris, the vehicle and the lay of the road in one frame. Get close-ups of tire marks or damage to curbs or grass. Capture a wide shot of the whole intersection or road stretch if possible.
If you are injured and sent to the hospital, see if a friend or family member can come to the scene immediately to capture photos.
The police will gather other physical evidence as well as photos of their own. They will also employ accident experts to reconstruct events using knowledge of physics and physical evidence. The results of their investigation could weigh greatly on the options you have for alleging fault in your case.
Gathering recorded statements from witnesses is as critical if not more critical than capturing photos. Someone with the right perspective can add clarity where there was none before.
Gather as much contact information from nearby witnesses as you can, and obtain recorded video or audio statements from them if possible.
Comparative Negligence for a Car Accident Personal Injury in Oklahoma
Oklahoma has comparative negligence laws (O.C. §23-13,14) for tort claims, including personal injury as a result of a car accident. These laws mean that fault can be weighed on a scale of 1 to 100 percent by interpreting the actions of each party.
For instance, a Ford may have rear-ended a Honda after the Honda pulled out in front of them from a stop sign. The Honda could be at fault for failure to yield, while the Ford could also be partially at fault for speeding or failing to change lanes in time when they had the chance to.
In such situations, plaintiffs can only recover compensation for their injuries if they contributed less fault to an accident than the defendant. Also, since awards for the total loss are reduced by the percentage amount of fault the plaintiff was responsible for, plaintiffs will want to prove as much fault on the defendant as possible to gain the compensation they need for recovery.
Working with a Car Accident Lawyer
Since determining fault is a complex issue, both plaintiffs and defendants will need an Oklahoma car accident personal injury attorney to investigate the facts and present their interpretation of events in a compelling way. Contact Parrish DeVaughn today for a free consultation to begin your case.