How do you determine fault in a car accident?

Posted by Shawn CareyMar 03, 2021

A car accident can cause you to suffer monetary losses and physical and emotional suffering. But in order for you to receive compensation for these damages in New York, it must be clear that the other driver is at fault.

New York has a comparative negligence law, which means that there can be a shared responsibility for causing a motor vehicle collision. As a plaintiff in a personal injury case, you can recover damages in proportion to how much the other motorist is at fault. For example, if you can prove the defendant is 100% responsible, you can pursue maximum damages. But even if the defendant is only 70% at fault, you can still seek compensation and receive the appropriate percentage.

One important factor in determining fault is the police report. If a police officer responds to the scene of a car crash, he or she will generally create a report about the incident. This report is a written recollection of the officer who studies the accident, which may include taking statements from involved parties, talking to witnesses and making observations that may indicate negligence such as skid marks.

In some circumstances, it is easy to determine who is responsible for a crash. For example, a rear-end collision is almost always the fault of the driver who rear-ends the other.

When it is clear who is at fault, you must also provide evidence of the damages for which you are seeking compensation. This may involve collecting medical records, obtaining vehicle repair estimates and calculating lost wages.

This is educational information and does not count as legal advice.