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In the midst of a car accident, tensions run high, drivers become nervous and shocked, and all anyone wants to do is make sure they and their loved ones are safe. In this way, ascertaining whether an accident is one person’s fault or not can be a tricky and emotionally fraught task in the heat of the moment.

In many cases, it is very clear which driver is at fault, and arrangements for insurance claims and accident replacement vehicles for the innocent party can be made. However, determining where the fault lies can sometimes be a little more ambiguous, and is best considered after the heat of the moment. The following tips will help determine whether or not you may be culpable for an accident:

1. Ascertain whether there were any violations of traffic law

Unsurprisingly, any driver violating traffic laws such as speeding or running lights will largely be held responsible for an accident. If you are not sure whether the other driver made any infractions, the police may be able to help collect evidence.

2. Consider all the evidence

Witness statements, photos and police reports are all useful in determining who caused an accident. Witnesses that have no relation to you or the other driver are likely to have a much clearer view of who caused the accident than those involved. Seek out their names, phone numbers and their account of the event to build up some solid evidence that will be useful for insurance companies.

3. Determine whether either driver was negligent

Negligence relates to any precautionary measure a driver fails to take before getting behind the wheel. It can range from driving without headlights on in the dark, failing to use corrective glasses for poor eyesight or failing to look both ways before making a turn.

Ultimately, if an accident was not your fault you will instinctively know it. When a driver contests your claim, it can be demoralising and stressful, but by collecting enough evidence and speaking to enough witnesses, you can ensure you get the compensation you deserve.