Determining who is at fault for a car accident isn't necessarily black and white. In some cases, it can be blatantly obvious if another driver was acting carelessly but oftentimes it's much more complex. When proving liability, you'll need evidence and documentation that goes beyond your first-hand account of what happened.
WAS A POLICE REPORT FILED?
If the police came to the scene of the accident, chances are they filed a police report. You can easily get a copy of the report by asking your local law enforcement. If someone violated a specific traffic law, sometimes the responding officers will include that in their report. Other times the responding officer will simply mention negligent behavior without diving into which traffic laws were violated.
IS THERE "NO-DOUBT" LIABILITY?
There are certain types of accidents that almost always make the other driver liable, commonly referred to as "no-doubt" liability. If you are rear-ended, it is virtually never your fault - regardless of why you stopped. As a basic rule of the road, the vehicles you share the road with must be able to stop safely when approaching traffic that is stopped. Drivers who violate that rule are at fault for the accidents they cause.
Cars making left turns are liable for accidents involving cars coming straight in the other direction. Much like with rear end collisions, the location of the damage is proof enough to determine what exactly happened. These types of accidents make it very difficult for the other driver to argue that the crash happened in some other way.
WHAT ARE THE STATE TRAFFIC LAWS?
When looking for official documentation that can support your claim, it's important to research Pennsylvania state traffic laws. Typically, these regulations are listed in the state's statute and is known as the "Vehicle Code." A simplified version of the state's traffic laws are usually found at public or law libraries. By doing some research on the specific traffic laws that apply to your claim, you may come across information that will help your case.
If you've been injured in a car accident, you need a skilled Altoona car accident lawyer on your side. Call Goldstein, Heslop, Steele, Clapper, Oswalt & Smith at (814)-705-4741 to schedule a consultation.