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How to Tell if the Other Driver is “At-Fault” in an Accident

Figuring out who is at fault in a vehicle accident is one way to help speed up the claims filing process with your insurance agency; however, determining who is at fault can sometimes be tricky business. You can use many tips to help figure out who is at fault, but a few of them are more effective than the rest.

State traffic laws

State traffic laws are a good source to use when you need to back up your argument. The local Department of Motor Vehicles office can usually provide a handbook of rules and regulations. Make a note of any pertinent statutes as you find them; they can be used during claims negotiations with your insurance agency.

Here’s a handy list from personal injury lawyers from Bronson Jones & Co that goes over specific incidents where the other driver is most likely at fault:

  1. Left-turn accidents

Drivers involved in left-turn accidents are frequently at fault because they turn against the flow of traffic. Exceptions include drivers moving straight who either failed to stop at a stop sign or were excessively speeding.

  1. Rear-end accidents

The driver at fault in a rear-end accident is likely the one with front-end damage. The driver with rear-end damage may be at fault, however, if he or she did not have functioning brake lights or tail lights. Additionally, if the driver with rear-end damage could have moved the vehicle off the road and failed to do so, the driver may be at fault.

  1. Lane Cutters

Some aggressive drivers will cut lanes excessively, and will not use their signals. A quick move that causes you to damage your car in any way will usually be the fault of the driver who cut lanes.

  1. Under Any Influence

Alcohol, drugs, texting, talking on a phone, or any other form of distracted driving that results in any accident is the responsibility of the distracted party.

  1. Any Head on Accident

If you are struck in your lane head on by another driver, there’s a very small chance the other driver will be judged as not liable.

Police reports

Police reports can sometimes provide the evidence you need to determine who was at fault. You can ask the police department’s traffic division for a copy of the report. If citations are mentioned, they will provide the strongest evidence. Often, the police officer at the scene will make an at-fault judgment and include it in the report, which helps support your claim.

Security videos

Security videos are not typically thought of when one is involved in an accident. If the accident occurred in a commercial area, however, securing a copy of the video can usually close the case in minutes. Do not be afraid to ask around; if a video captured the accident, it is crucial you secure a copy.


An eyewitness report can provide powerful evidence for your argument. Ensure you get the names, addresses and phone numbers of everybody present so that additional information can be obtained if needed. Eyewitness testimony can sometimes be more powerful than a police officer’s accident report as the witnesses saw events the police officer can only speculate about based on vehicle damage or skid marks.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.
Tim Esterdahl

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