Being in an automobile accident is one of the worst things a person can deal with in life. The element of guilt is a big part of the overall picture, and it determines who is responsible for payment. The party that was negligent and caused the accident will not only pay for any damages, but they will be required to pay for any medical bills too. In some cases, the fault cannot be undoubtedly established. When a fault is not clear, however, then each party will pay a percentage of the damages.
The Power of The Police Report
Insurance companies rely heavily on the police report to give them the data they need. Because officers are on the scene, in most cases, they have skills for determining who is at fault. They will look at the position of the vehicles, damages, injuries, and other pertinent information, and then they will establish who was negligent. Their report is revered by courts and insurance companies alike. However, in some cases, these police reports are not always accurate.
Sometimes, officers quickly make assumptions, especially during inclement weather, or an officer did not even respond to the accident. If there are many accidents at the same time, like during a snowstorm or other act of Mother Nature, they may just have people call in the details later. In these cases, the story may rely on one person to step up and admit their guilt, or they will look to third party witnesses.
Third Party Witness Statements Can Be So Helpful
In some cases, third party witness statements are a powerful tool to a personal injury lawyer. When a fault is not clear through a police report, then witness statements can prove quite valuable. Anyone, at the scene, who saw what happened is an asset to a case. This is specifically true if one party was badly injured and needs to seek compensation. Some accidents, like those involving motorcycles and bikes, are easier to determine fault than others. The witness, who write statements about the accidents, can be asked to come into court and testify.
Determining fault in an auto-accident can require much thought and deliberation. However, when it comes to motorcycles and bike accidents, it can be even more complex. Motorcycles are often involved in accidents, specifically because they are not always seen by a driver. If a motorcycle is weaving in and out of traffic and driving erratically, a third-party witness statement might be able to help the police determine fault.
In cases where the motorcycle is hit from behind, but they jump in-front of a car with no time to stop, the case is not always clear to an officer. Under normal circumstances, a person who hits another from the rear-end would be charged with “assured clear distance.” Unlike a car, a motorcycle can weave in and out of traffic with shorter spaces. The motorcycle driver may appear to be the victim, but they caused the accident. A witness can help the police to know that the reckless driving is what caused the accident. Witnesses can also settle disputes between drivers’ viewpoints, specifically when no officer was present.
Dealing with Comparative or Contributory Negligence
Typically, if the injured party has any fault in the accident at all, they will not be entitled to recover anything for their loss. The legal term pure contributory negligence is used to describe this type of accident. For instance, let’s assume Karen and Lisa were involved in an auto accident. Karen hit Lisa’s car while she was making a left-hand turn onto a 2-lane avenue. Karen didn’t see Lisa’s car because it was dark outside, and Lisa didn’t have any headlights on. The accident was partly caused by Lisa’s negligence to fulfill her driver’s obligations. Using the contributory negligence theory, Lisa would not receive any payment for her damages as she was partly at fault. It appears to be harsh, but many states still use this rule. However, many states use a proportional form of the law that allows the injured party to collect some of the damage for their injuries.
If you have been injured in a car accident, you need legal protection. Insurance companies will try to twist, police reports and witness statements to get out of paying for damages. You need a strong legal team on your side to help during this difficult time.