Given how chaotic roads can be, it’s not always easy to work out who’s liable in a car accident. However, there are some governing rules, and they’re useful to know. Remember, too, that if you’re in a not at fault car accident, you have a right to an accident replacement car.
The other driver admits liability
If the other driver admits fault in any way, listen carefully. Whether he/she expresses liability directly or merely says “sorry”, the court is likely to see either statement as an admission. (Note to self: you have the right to remain to silent!)
The other driver violates the road rules
Numerous drivers lack knowledge of the road rules. Did the other driver run a red light, get distracted by a mobile phone or enter a roundabout after you, thereby ignoring your right of way? If so, chances are you’ll be lodging a “not my fault” car insurance claim. Keep in mind, though, that if you could’ve done something to prevent the accident, such as braking or getting out of the way, you might be held partly culpable.
The other driver crashes into the back of your vehicle
As a rule of thumb, a driver that crashes into the back of another car is at fault. So, if you’ve been rear-ended, you can at least look forward to a replacement courtesy car.
There’s evidence of what happened
If at all possible, collect evidence. Take photos, and collect the names and numbers of witnesses. Have a good look at the scene and try to work out whether or not a traffic violation occurred. The more evidence you have, the stronger your case for a “not at fault” car accident will stand up in court.
The other car was illegally parked and couldn’t be avoided
Should you hit an illegally parked car, you may or may not be liable. If the police believe you could have – and should have – seen and avoided the car, you might be considered at fault. If there was no way you could have seen it – nor stopped in time – blame is likely to lay with the driver who parked the car.