Car accidents can lead to significant injuries and extensive property damage. If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident caused by another driver in the Michigan area, you will likely be able to recover compensation for your losses with the help of a car accident lawyer in Southfield. However, in order to recover compensation, you have to prove that the other party caused the incident. There are various types of evidence that need to be gathered in these situations, some of which must be obtained at the scene of the accident, and other types of evidence that can be gathered in the days and weeks that follow the incident.
Gathering Evidence to Prove Liability
The process of determining fault for a car accident begins right after an incident occurs. In some cases, it is completely up to law enforcement officials to conduct an initial investigation and fill out an accident report. Police officers come to the scene, take statements from all parties involved, and note who or what they think caused the accident. For severe accidents that result in major injuries or a fatality, police officers will conduct a more extensive investigation.
Individuals who are involved in a vehicle accident can also gather evidence if it is safe for them to do so and if they have not sustained severe injuries. Any person at the scene of a crash can use their cell phone to take pictures of what they see, including:
- Vehicle damage
- Debris or skid marks
- Traffic conditions
- Weather conditions
- Possible causes of the crash
- License plate numbers
Additionally, if there were any eyewitnesses to the crash, it is important for those involved to get their names and contact information so they can give their statements later to insurance carriers or even at a personal injury trial if necessary.
There may be additional evidence that has to be gathered in the days and weeks that follow the car accident. Often, a crash victim will need to work with an attorney to obtain this additional evidence, which can include video surveillance from cameras on nearby homes or businesses, dashcam surveillance footage, mobile device data, vehicle data recording devices, and more.
Working With Accident Reconstruction Experts
In most cases, the fault for a vehicle accident in Michigan can be determined by gathering and analyzing all the evidence we mentioned above. However, there are times when the fault may not be so clear. It may be necessary to work with an accident reconstruction expert who can use computer modeling, science, and mathematics to analyze the evidence gathered and the crash scene to put together a clear picture of what likely happened.
Partial Fault for a Michigan Car Accident
It may be the case that a person is partially responsible for causing a vehicle accident, but that does not mean they will recover no compensation. Michigan operates under a “modified comparative negligence” theory, which means compensation recovery is possible so long as the person is 50% or less responsible for the incident. Individuals will receive reduced compensation based on their percentage of fault for an incident. For example, if a driver sustains $100,000 worth of injury and property damage expenses in a crash, but a jury determines that they were 10% responsible for the incident, they would receive $90,000 instead of the full $100,000. Any person 51% or more responsible for a car accident will not be able to recover compensation.