Proving Fault for an Auto Accident in Colorado
Being involved in auto accident can be a frightening experience and one that can result in serious injury or loss of life. Your ability to obtain compensation following a crash will likely boil down to whether it’s possible to prove that the other driver was at fault. Sometimes proving fault is easy.
Sometimes it is very difficult. Generally, establishing fault in a Colorado auto accident case requires proof that the other driver acted negligently – that is, they failed to operate their motor vehicle in a reasonably safe and prudent manner.
But how do you go about proving fault in the wake of an auto accident in Colorado? At Whalen Hersh LLP, we recommend that anyone who has been involved in a motor vehicle collision in this state to take the following steps.
Seek Medical Treatment
First and foremost, you should seek medical care. Promptly seeking medical treatment following an auto accident is important not just for your physical wellbeing but also for your subsequent legal case. If, for example, you put off seeing a doctor, the other driver’s insurance company is likely to argue that the accident did not cause your injuries, or that your injuries aren’t as severe as you claim.
Often the stress and excitement of a crash can mask the pain caused by serious injuries. Even if you feel okay right after an accident, you should stay aware of how your body feels in the aftermath, and you should get checked out by your doctor, urgent care, or at an emergency room if you experience pain, cognitive problems, or functional issues.
If you are able, you or a witness should take photos of the accident scene following a car accident. If possible, take multiple photos from multiple angles of the damage done to both vehicles, as well as the other driver’s license plate, your physical injuries, and anything else that could be relevant to liability, such as skid marks on the road. Be mindful that some injuries, like bruises, may not appear until a day or so after the crash. A good rule of thumb to follow is to take more photos than you think you might later need.
Collect Witness Information
Equally important to taking photos is speaking with people who saw the accident take place and document what they say. Bystanders can be a valuable source of objective information that can help reconstruct how the accident happened. In speaking with witnesses, be sure to collect their names and contact information for later follow-up. The police will also likely speak to witnesses and obtain statements while investigating the crash. The more information collected at the scene the better.
Obtain a Police Report
The police who arrive at the crash site and investigate the crash will document how the accident occurred in a formal police report. That report might include the investigating officer’s determination as to why the crash occurred and which driver was responsible. The reports will often have witness statements included and identify any citations that were issues.
Don’t Give a Recorded Statement
It’s possible that the other driver’s insurance company will contact you soon after the accident and ask you to provide what is called a recorded statement. Don’t do this. An insurance company claims adjuster can easily lure you into saying something that is against your interest and something that will be used against you if litigation occurs. Providing a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company isn’t legally required and is something that most auto accident attorneys will advise against.
Contact Whalen Hersh
If you or someone you love has been hurt in a motor vehicle accident, you should explore your legal options by speaking with one of the Colorado auto accident lawyers at Whalen Hersh. Our experienced lawyers are widely known for providing sophisticated and effective legal representation to personal injury plaintiffs from throughout the state.