Determining Fault in A Car Accident Case
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) studies, driver error is the primary cause of automobile accidents in the United States. Accidents caused by someone else’s recklessness or negligence such as poor judgment, driving distracted or under the influence, and fatigue, fall into the category of driver error. In these cases, a specific person may be held liable for their actions.
Other factors such as road or car defects can also lead to serious accidents. Common roadway defects that may indicate a road was not properly constructed or maintained include:
- Soft shoulders, meaning that the shoulder on the side of the road is made of gravel or packed dirt rather than asphalt
- Defective guardrails
- Improper drainage that can cause the road to be slick and cause hydroplaning
The North Carolina Department of Transportation has strict guidelines to ensure that all roads, streets, and highways are designed and maintained with driver safety as the top priority. If architects, engineers, construction companies, paving companies, or contractors fail to adhere to those rules, they may be held liable for your accident.
Common car defects that indicate a vehicle was manufactured using defective parts or did not undergo the proper safety testing include:
- Roof crush
- Seatbelt failure
- Airbag failure
- Fuel-fed fires
- Defective tires
In these cases, several parties could be held liable for the accident. These parties include the manufacturer or designer of the auto part and the manufacturer or seller of the vehicle.
The outcome of an automobile accident claim in North Carolina is contingent on proving that the other motorist was at fault. A qualified lawyer can assist you in obtaining all of the evidence necessary to establish liability so you can recover the damages you are owed.
What Are The First Steps I Should Take After A Car Accident?
Emotions are high after a car collision, and there is a lot of confusion on the scene. There are, however, several precautions you may take to safeguard yourself and any claim you decide to pursue in the future.
- Don’t Leave the Scene. You should only leave the accident area after exchanging information with others involved in the crash and receiving permission from any law enforcement officers there. You risk being charged with hit-and-run if you leave before then.
- Check for Injuries. Determine if anyone was wounded, beginning with yourself and moving on to everyone else in your vehicle. Then, if it’s safe, get out of your car and check on the other drivers and passengers.
- Call the Police. If there are any injuries, dial 911 immediately. Having a law enforcement officer there, regardless of any injuries, may be beneficial if discovered that the other driver is driving while intoxicated or without insurance.
- Move Vehicles. If the crash is minimal and there are no significant injuries, try to relocate all vehicles to the road’s shoulder and away from the traffic flow. This will help avoid a larger traffic delay and make it easier for first responders to get to the accident.
- Obtain Insurance and Personal Information. Identify any other drivers who may have been involved in the collision and gather their names, contact information, driver’s license number, and insurance company and policy number. If there are any witnesses, you should also collect their information.
- Document and Gather Evidence. When you have a chance, write down everything that happened before and after the accident as accurately as you can. Take photos of any damage to the car, skid marks, or weather conditions in the vicinity. Look around to check whether any cameras, such as traffic or security cameras, are nearby. Make a mental note of where they are in case you need a copy of the footage.
- Watch What You Say. If you’re unsure if you’re to blame for the accident, don’t admit fault. Also, don’t lie, especially if you’re making a police statement.
- Notify Your Insurance Company. Regardless of who is at fault for the car accident, it is critical to contact your car insurance company as quickly as possible. Failure to notify your insurance company in a timely manner could risk your coverage.
We’re the Attorneys Who Care About Protecting Your Rights
When you choose Henson Fuerst to represent you, you can expect to be treated like family and provided with honest and compassionate legal representation. If you have questions about an accident you were involved in, contact our North Carolina car accident attorneys for a free consultation.
Our firm only gets paid when you do. So, if there is no recovery for your case, then there is no attorney’s fee. It’s that simple. We work hard to defend your rights and help you recover the compensation you need to move forward.