Category: Car Accident

It’s important to determine fault for a Los Angeles car accident. The driver who is at fault will most likely be responsible for damage caused by the accident. There are many factors that go into determining who is to blame. One of those factors is the damage to vehicles and other property involved in the crash.

Damage Helps to Paint a Picture

Vehicle damage can help investigators to identify the type of car accident that occurred. There are many different kinds of accidents, including rear-end, side-impact, and head-on collisions. The type of accident can say a lot about which driver is at fault.

Rear-End Collision: When cars are involved in a rear-end collision, one will have significant damage to the front of the vehicle, while the other will have significant damage to the rear of the vehicle. When rear-end accidents occur, the driver at the rear is typically presumed to be at fault. Rear-end collisions could indicate that the rear driver was:

  • Distracted
  • Following too closely
  • Driving aggressively, or
  • Trying to beat a yellow light at an intersection.

However, rear-end collisions are not always the fault of the rear driver. Some rear-end crashes occur when the front driver is distracted at an intersection. However, the fact that damage indicates a rear-end crash can help investigators narrow down possible causes and identify fault.

Side-Impact Collision: Damage to the side of one vehicle may indicate a side-impact crash. If the other vehicle shows signs of damage on the front or back, a side-impact crash can often be confirmed. If the side damage is on the passenger side of the vehicle, it often indicates that the other driver is at fault. For example, let’s say Car A has damage to the passenger side of the vehicle, and Car B has damage to the front of the vehicle. It’s more likely that the driver of Car B is to blame for the accident. The driver could have raced through an intersection or backed into traffic without looking for oncoming vehicles.

Head-On Collision: Vehicle damage can also be instructive, but not definitive, in other types of car accidents. If both vehicles show damage to the front, they were likely involved in a head-on crash. In most head-on accidents, one driver is typically on the wrong side of the road. Evidence of a head-on crash can help investigators determine which driver was negligent.

So, vehicle damage can be very helpful as investigators try to determine fault. Investigators will typically identify, review, and analyze the damage to each vehicle after an accident. An analysis may require specialized knowledge of physics, geometry, and engineering as they relate to accidents.

What Factors Can Help Determine Fault?

Vehicle damage is not always a fool-proof way to determine fault. Investigators will likely include damage as one of many factors in the determination. Factors that may be used by insurance companies and investigators to determine fault include:

  • Citations issued to driver(s) for traffic violations
  • Blood alcohol concentration
  • Use of headlights and/or windshield wipers
  • Vehicle speed
  • Point of impact
  • Location of the accident (e.g., city intersection, rural highway, parking lot)
  • Sudden acceleration
  • Vehicle crashworthiness, and
  • Eye-witness testimony.

It’s important to identify any factor that could have contributed to a Los Angeles car accident. While vehicle damage can help to identify possible fault, it is not the only consideration. Failing to search for all possible causes can cause fault to be misidentified and misappropriated.

Vehicle Damage Can Indicate Comparative Fault

In California, more than one person can be responsible for causing an accident. Damage to a vehicle could indicate that both drivers share fault for the accident. Fault isn’t necessarily a bar to recovery in California. When drivers share fault they will be:

  • Responsible for their share of the damage, and
  • Entitled to some compensation.

Determining the cause of the accident and apportioning fault correctly is essential in a personal injury case.

Here’s why:

Driver A and Driver B are involved in an accident. Vehicle damage indicates there was a rear-end collision. Driver A sustained damage to the back of his vehicle and Driver B sustained damage to the front of his vehicle. At first glance, it appears as though Driver B is entirely to blame for following too closely. However, an investigation finds that Driver A was distracted and not paying attention to the road. As a result, they contributed to the rear-end collision. Driver A is attributed 25 percent of fault and Driver B is responsible for 75 percent.

  • Driver A: Driver A is responsible for 75 percent of Driver B’s damages. Driver A can also recover 25 percent of his damages from Driver B.
  • Driver B: Driver B is responsible for 25 percent of Driver A’s damages. Driver B can also recover 75 percent of his damages from Driver A.

Car accident damage helped investigators to determine the type of crash. This allowed them to determine possible causes and identify fault. Using other factors, investigators were able to attribute fault properly.

Have you been involved in a Los Angeles car accident? Contact Glotzer & Lieb, LLP for help. Our personal injury attorneys are prepared to help you fight for the compensation you deserve.