How to Prove You Are Not At Fault in a Car Accident
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Car accidents happen every day, and when they do, many questions come up, including who is at fault. Understanding what it takes to prove you were not at fault is essential to avoid increased insurance premiums, financial penalties, and paying damages to the other party involved in the accident. Your car accident lawyer at our law firm can help you understand your legal options and the next steps to take in your case.
What it Means to Be “At-Fault” in a Car Accident
Determining who is at fault in a car accident can be difficult without the help of a car accident lawyer due to the complex legal system and how evidence is presented in court. Several factors prove that a driver is at fault for a car accident. These include:
- A violation of the driver’s duty of care to the passenger, such as speeding on a highway.
- An act of negligence, like texting while driving, caused a collision.
- The accident resulted in injuries to the other driver and passengers.
Michigan’s comparative negligence law may also assign a percentage of the liability to others in a car accident. The court can lower economic damages by that percentage if a person’s fault is greater than that of the other party.
For example, if someone is in a car crash with another driver, the court decides how much each person was at fault for the crash. If you were found 40% at fault for the crash, you might only get 60% of the damages.
Michigan’s No-Fault Insurance Laws
Michigan is a no-fault state, so drivers are required to have Personal Injury Protection (PIP), Property Protection (PPI), and Residual Liability Insurance that covers injuries and damage to the body. This covers losses caused by the person with this insurance, even if it is not their fault.
Many people in Michigan can get help for their injuries by filing a claim with their own insurance companies when they are in an accident. However, people who get injured in a major car accident rarely receive enough money from their insurance company to cover all their losses and pursue a civil lawsuit.
How to Prove You Are Not at Fault in a Car Accident
Many factors could have contributed to a car accident, including the weather conditions at the time of the collision, inadequate signage, poor roads, or faulty traffic lights. It’s possible that the liability can lie with more than one driver. You can take the following actions after your accident to gather evidence proving you are not at fault in the accident:
Call the Police
If you are in an accident, call the police right away. The responding police officer will talk to all people involved and make a report of what happened. The officer will then give you the formal police report when they are done.
This report has the date, time, road conditions, broken traffic laws, weather conditions, and conclusions about who was at fault for the accident. Besides the accident report, the responding police officer can testify who is liable for the accident.
Collect Evidence from the Car Wreck
You can take photos and videos of the scene of the accident, such as the tire tread marks, road conditions, impact points, and damage to your vehicle. If you are injured and cannot take pictures or videos, you can ask a bystander to take pictures on your behalf.
If your vehicle has a dashboard camera, and the accident was not a rear-end collision, you can watch the footage. Your car accident attorney can also review the footage to look for traffic violations, such as driving under the influence or running a red light.
Get Contact Information from the Other Driver
It is helpful to exchange contact information with the other driver. This also enables you to get the driver’s insurance company information so you can submit your car accident insurance claim.
Collect Witness Statements if Possible
Another vital detail is the contact information for witnesses who saw the accident. If they can provide specific details about how and what occurred, the information can give a clear picture of whether somebody was at fault for the accident.
Keep Your Medical Bills and Receipts as Evidence
It is important to keep all your receipts from anything related to the crash as further evidence of proving that you were not at fault for your accident. Keep track of all your medical expenses related to the accident.
If you can no longer work because of the accident, save pay stubs and returns to prove you have lost your wages. You can also keep your receipts for the repair costs of your vehicle.
A Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You
The aftermath of an auto accident can be stressful, but before you pursue any legal action, a car accident lawyer must thoroughly research your case’s details and validity.
Working with an experienced auto accident attorney from Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can help you gather evidence from your car accident, offer legal advice, and file for compensation for your injuries. You can fill out our online contact form or call us at 1-866-MICHLAW (866-MICH-LAW) to schedule your appointment for a free consultation.
Since Michigan is a no-fault state, what can I be sued for?
Insured people cannot be sued for an auto accident unless they committed an accident in Michigan under the following circumstances under Michigan’s mini-tort laws:
- It results in death, severe injury, or permanent disfigurement.
- It involves a non-resident operating a motor vehicle that is not registered in Michigan.
- If you are more than 50% at fault for a collision that results in damages to another person’s vehicle not covered by insurance. You can be sued for up to $1,000.
What are the penalties if I don’t carry driver’s insurance?
There is a $100 fine and/or a year in prison for this misdemeanor. The court can suspend your license for 30 days or until you can provide proper insurance documentation.
Even if I was driving uninsured, do I still have to pay for damages?
In Michigan, the law allows coverage for certain damages if you are found at fault for causing the accident. However, uninsured drivers may be responsible for the full cost of damage to another vehicle since they have no insurance to help cover the damages.
If you were not at fault in a collision but were driving without insurance, you are not entitled to sue the at-fault motorist or recover damages.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.