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Can Fault Be Determined By Car Accident Damage?

Posted on July 27, 2022 in

Vehicle accident scenes can be complicated and complex, not to mention dangerous. That is why determining fault can sometimes be challenging. In some cases, it may be necessary to rely on vehicle damage to actually piece together an idea of how the collision occurred. In fact, vehicle damage can be very helpful if drivers’ stories do not align or if one or more driver is unable to communicate their side of events. Here, we want to how car accident damage could be used to determine liability.

Factors Typically Used to Determine Fault

After a vehicle accident occurs, there are typically various factors that insurance carriers, law enforcement officials, and legal teams will examine to determine exactly what happened. Usually, the most common factors taken into account when determining liability include:

  • The police report
  • Statements from drivers involved
  • Statements from eyewitnesses
  • Photographs or video surveillance from the scene
  • The actual damage to the vehicle

How Vehicle Damage Can Prove Fault

Vehicle damage could play an essential part in proving liability for an accident. However, we do want to say that, typically, the vehicle damage is not enough by itself to prove what happened. We will examine why that is the case in just a moment.

After an accident, damage to a vehicle can paint a picture of what actually happened at the scene of the incident, particularly when trying to determine where the initial impact occurred. Most of the damage on the vehicles involved in an accident will occur at the point of initial impact, so this type of evidence could help corroborate the stories being told to law enforcement as well as statements from eyewitnesses.

However, significant caution must be taken when relying on vehicle damage after an accident occurs. After an incident, there are often many secondary impacts that can affect the vehicles involved, and this can certainly alter the perception of what may have initially occurred to cause the accident. For example, in a T-bone collision, a vehicle could spin in an unexpected direction and then strike another fixed object that could leave significant damage. When something like this occurs, relying solely on vehicle damage to determine liability is not a good idea.

Additionally, it is not uncommon for only one vehicle involved in a collision to sustain major damage. If an individual is examining a scene and other vehicles involved have little to no damage, this does not necessarily mean that no incident occurred. Individuals inside of vehicles without damage can certainly sustain injuries, so it would not be fair to rely solely on damage to determine liability when it comes to paying their injury compensation.

Accident Reconstruction After an Accident

One important aspect of vehicle damage is the process of accident reconstruction. Not every vehicle accident requires the assistance of an accident reconstruction expert, but this is not uncommon, particularly for incidents that lead to significant injuries.

When accident reconstruction experts work a scene, examining vehicle damage is an important part of the process. They will look at the severity of the damage, which can help tell them information such as the speed of vehicles when the collision occurred as well as the angle of the initial impact. Overall, an accident reconstruction analysis will be part of the process of determining liability, not the entire process.

Call us today to speak with a Denver car accident lawyer.