It is far too common for the driver responsible for a car accident to try and claim that he or she is not at fault. In this case, it can create the need to prove that you yourself were not negligent, and instead that the other driver was. Since this is a common issue, here are answers to a few frequently asked questions regarding how to handle it:
The other driver took responsibility after the crash. Is that good enough?
No, whatever is said at the crash scene can be referenced later in court, but it becomes a he-said-she-said situation. Hopefully, the other driver will stand by what was said immediately after the wreck, but you cannot count on this. The other driver could have a change of heart once the insurance company becomes involved.
Will the Kentucky State Police decide who is to blame for the crash?
After you have been in a wreck, you need to call the Kentucky State Police (KSP) and file an accident report. The report is mostly for informational purposes and will be used to identify both drivers, the make and model of the vehicles, driver contact information, and the basics about where the accident took place. They may not go into detail regarding what happened and they may or may not issue a ticket to one or both of the drivers. This is really up to the individual officer. With that in mind, you cannot depend on the accident report to prove negligence or blame.
What can I do to prove the other driver is to blame for the crash?
It is best to gather as much information as you can immediately after the accident. While there, for example, you can pull out your phone and start taking pictures of the area, both vehicles, the damage debris, and so on. Even after the fact, you can take some of these pictures. You should also identify any witnesses who could help confirm your version of what happened. This may include anyone riding in your vehicle or anyone who stopped to help after the fact. As a car accident lawyer, I regularly help clients gather the evidence necessary to prove the other driver’s negligence.
If I can’t prove the other driver caused the wreck, will I be able to get as much money?
Not necessarily. To start, your insurance policy should have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, which should pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and the repairs for the damage to your vehicle up to a point. The limits of your PIP will be set by your particular policy, and regardless of who caused the crash, you should qualify for the coverage to pay for those expenses within the limits of your policy. If, however, you have medical bills or lost wages that go far beyond what your policy will pay for, your recourse would be to sue the driver who actually caused the wreck. In order to do so successfully, you will need to prove negligence and that he or she was more at fault for the crash than you were. This can be challenging to do on your own and is one of the reasons that many people hire an attorney.
Do I have to sue the other driver immediately?
No, but you do have to file a lawsuit within one year of the accident. This can go by quickly, especially if you are undergoing significant medical treatment, so hiring an attorney right away is wise.