insurance adjuster recording car damage

Can Fault For a Crash Be Determined By Damage to the Cars?

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

After a car accident, your California car accident lawyer and law enforcement investigators will attempt to determine the root cause of the accident, if any confounding factors were present, and more. All of these can affect the outcome of a car accident lawsuit and determine who may be at fault for the incident.

In many cases, the damage to one or more vehicles can be used to figure out who is at fault for an accident. But this is not always the case.

The Role of Car Damage in Accident Reconstruction

Accident reconstruction is the art of recreating the circumstances and moments leading up to an accident and determining which factors, if any, contributed to accident damage or injuries suffered by the victims. With accident reconstruction, investigators and legal professionals can figure out:

  • Who is responsible for the accident, if anyone
  • Who is on the hook for damages or compensation
  • Who is innocent of accusations of fault

Accident reconstruction involves many techniques and technologies, including creating software simulations of the accident, gathering physical evidence like photos, and taking witness testimonies.

Every piece of information at an accident scene is important. In accident reconstruction, the damage sustained by one or both vehicles can be vital information to incorporate when trying to recreate the accident accurately.

Damage Location and Severity

Car accident damage can contribute to accident reconstruction in two different ways:

  • The location or type of the damage to the vehicle(s)
  • The severity of the damage sustained

The first factor, the location or type of damage sustained by one or more vehicles tells legal experts:

  • Where the vehicle was hit
  • What the vehicle was hit with, such as another car or a piece of debris
  • From what direction the impactor was coming from

With the second factor, the severity of damage sustained can tell investigators how fast one or both cars were moving. All of this evidence can be very helpful when compared to witness testimony and other types of physical evidence.

Photos and Other Physical Evidence

Car accident damage can be recorded through the use of photographs and other physical evidence, like technical analysis after the vehicles are recovered and taken to police stations. Because traffic accident scenes can change very quickly, you should take photos of the accident and the damage sustained by both vehicles if you are uninjured after an incident.

Legal experts and law enforcement professionals will compare the physical data they gather from the investigation against eyewitness testimonies. In this way, they can learn who is telling the truth and who may be lying.

However, the fault for a crash may not always be fully determined by damage to the vehicle(s). Car accident lawyers often have to utilize other means of evidence to prove negligence or fault for an accident, like pictures from traffic lights, eyewitness testimonies, and more.

To learn more about how car damage can impact your car accident case, contact us today. You can schedule a free consultation to discuss your options.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.