How Can the Location of Damage Help Determine Fault?

A car with severe damage to the rear passenger area

Immediately following a car accident, you may start to playback the events that led to the crash. Naturally, you will wonder what happened to cause the accident. Sometimes, the cause of the accident is clear. Other times, the cause of a crash may not be so simple.

One of the things to look at to determine the cause of a car accident is the location of the damage. The area of vehicle damage has a lot to say about how an accident occurred and who’s liable for the crash. Here’s what you need to know about how you can use car accident location of damage to determine liability.

Why Can the Location of Damage Help Determine Fault?

The location of damage is helpful to determine fault because damages result from the events of the crash. In other words, accident damages are a matter of cause and effect. Damage is the result of the impact of the vehicles.

Impact occurs because the vehicles travel in a particular direction at a specific rate of speed. You can look at the damages to determine what must have happened to cause them. By examining the damages to both vehicles, you can work backward to determine how the accident must have occurred.

Examples Where Damages Can Prove Fault

In some cases, the location of damage tells a convincing story about how the accident occurred. For example, if there’s damage to the rear of one vehicle and the front of another, chances are, the car behind didn’t stop in time for the vehicle in front. In that case, the driver in the rear vehicle is likely at fault for the accident because they violated Florida law 316.0895 which prohibits following too closely to the car in front of you.

If the crash occurs in a parking lot, damages can be revealing. If there’s rear damage on one vehicle and side damage on another, the vehicle with rear damage may have tried to back out when there was a vehicle in the way. Similarly, consider another example where a car has damage to its front, right end, and passenger side and a second vehicle has damage to the left, front side. That crash likely occurred when the second vehicle pulled out in front of the first when there wasn’t enough time to enter the lane of travel.

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Examples Where Damage Doesn’t Prove Fault

There are some cases where damage doesn’t tell the story of fault after a car accident. For example, one vehicle has damage to its front end. The other vehicle has damage to its driver’s side. The accident must have occurred when the second vehicle tried to turn left as the other vehicle traveled through the intersection.

In this case, the location of the damage alone doesn’t tell the story of which driver is at fault for the accident. If the turning driver had a green light, the driver heading straight into the intersection on a red light is at fault for the crash. On the other hand, if the driver heading straight had the green light, it’s the turning driver that violated the traffic control device. If damage doesn’t tell the entire story, witness testimony is crucial to proving liability for the accident.

How Do You Document Damage?

To use damages to tell the story of how your accident occurred, you need to document what the damages are. You can record the damages in your case by taking photographs.

Take photographs of the entire scene in addition to the damages on your vehicle. Your cell phone camera is sufficient for photos. You can also use Florida’s Rules of Civil Procedure to ask for a vehicle inspection. Finally, an estimate of repairs can serve as an expert’s documentation of what’s damaged on and in your vehicle.

How Do I Explain What the Location of Damages Means?

You may need an expert to help the jury connect the dots. You can use an accident reconstructionist. An accident reconstructionist is an expert in understanding and explaining what the location of the damage and other factors have to say about how an accident occurred.

The expert puts all of the pieces of the puzzle together. In addition to the location of damage, they look at things like weather conditions and skid marks. When they have a complete picture, they can help explain it to the jury in a way that the jury can easily understand. They may also rely on video animations to help the jury get the entire picture.

Location of Damage Is Only One Piece of the Puzzle

Remember that the location of damages is only one part of determining how a crash occurred. You’ll look at everything from witness testimony to debris and skid marks on the road to photographs of the accident scene.

The location of damage is an integral part of building your case, but it’s only one part of your case. It’s important to examine every aspect of your case to determine the cause of the accident and how to best build your case for a fair recovery.

How Can an Attorney Help?

An experienced car accident attorney can help you put all of the pieces together to use the location of damage to prove how the accident occurred in your case. With their experience, they know what you need to do to prepare your case efficiently. If it’s a good idea to use an accident reconstructionist in your case, your attorney can help you understand why it’s a good decision.

Your case might go to trial. If it goes to trial, it’s important to be able to show the jury how the location of vehicle damage tells the story. Developing a clear picture of the case can help the other side see the merits of your case.

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Get Assistance From a Qualified Car Accident Attorney

At Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, we understand the importance of evidence, including the location of damage, and how to use it to obtain a favorable outcome in your car accident case. We are committed to ensuring you get the compensation you need to get your life back to normal.

If you have been injured in a car accident, call (813) 333-6666 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free evaluation of your case today. There is no fee unless we win.