Establishing liability in a rear end collision is not always as simple as you may think.
When you are in a car accident in Missouri, you should understand that it is a comparative law state. That means that both parties can be found negligent and therefore liable for any damages and injuries. In some cases determining fault is pretty simple: one car hits another and is at fault. However, there are times when figuring out who is at fault can become a great debate, making it difficult for either party to get their damages paid.
Most people assume that when they are hit from behind that they are not at fault. That is not always the case. There are times when someone can be rear-ended and can be found partially at fault for the accident. The only way to truly know who is at fault is to figure out the events that led to the car accident. Through a combination of recreating the conditions and reviewing documents, eyewitness accounts, and how well everyone was adhering to the Missouri traffic laws, fault may take some time to sort through.
Have a Police Report Filed
One way to determine who is at fault for an accident is to have a police report filed. It is imperative that you have a police report drafted before you leave the site. Even if it is just a fender bender and no one is hurt, a police report can help establish liability. Sometimes an officer will issue a ticket and sometimes they won’t. What they will do is write down what the witnesses say while the events are still fresh in their minds. Although they are not admissible in court, police reports are a great way to lend credence to proving that another driver was at fault.
Missouri Traffic Laws
It is also important to know who was following the state laws and who was not. For instance, if you slammed on your brakes to turn without using your turn signal and were rear-ended, then you would not be following the rules of the road and could be held liable for the accident. Deciphering whether everyone involved was following Missouri state laws when driving will be integral to figuring out who was at fault.
Is There a Third Party Involved?
There are times when there is another party involved in the accident who caused you to be rear-ended, and they might be liable. If you were forced to stop suddenly because someone pulled out in front of you, and then you were hit from behind, then the third party may also be at fault.
If you are rear-ended, it might seem like an open-and-shut case of negligence on the part of the person who hit you. However, that is not always the case. The best way to ensure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries and damages is to have a St. Louis car accident attorney help you through the process of establishing fault and ensure that you receive all that you are entitled to.