Fault is central in personal injury claims. Under the laws of negligence, a person only pays you compensation if they are at least partly at fault for the accident. In a car accident context, this means the other driver made some error that caused the crash and your injuries.
Fault is sometimes clear. For example, you might have dashboard video in your car that shows a driver cutting you off and causing a wreck. In a slip and fall case, we sometimes find closed-circuit television that shows a staff member spilling liquid on the floor, which our client then slips on.
However, fault is often disputed. And there’s a good reason why the parties to a lawsuit fight over fault. Again, if the defendant does not share blame for your accident, then he or she does not need to pay compensation.
There are many situations where fault is in dispute:
- In sideswipe accidents, two cars running parallel to each other collide. It isn’t easy to identify who is to blame for failing to yield.
- In a slip and fall, the property owner might claim they did not know the hazard existed or that they did not have enough time to properly fix it.
- In a truck accident, the driver might claim you cut him off, which is why he rode up into your back seat.
To determine fault, we need to gather evidence, speak to witnesses, and review the scene of the accident. Still, there might be a dispute, which means someone needs to allocate fault between the parties. We can take our case to a jury to decide.