Proving Fault in a Car Accident: 6 Important Steps
Did you know that in Michigan alone, there are an average of over 300 000 car traffic accidents
every year? The legalities of dealing with a car accident depend largely on which state the accident took
place in, with some states having much more complex laws than others. If you live in Michigan,
you are in a “No-Fault” state. This means that irrespective of who caused the auto accident,
both parties involved are entitled to claim auto insurance benefits.
As it works differently in Michigan than in most other states, it’s crucial to be informed of which
actions can favor your car accident legal claims. Some cases are much more clear-cut, such as
rear-end collisions or left-turn impacts. In many cases, however, proving fault in the incident is
essential. This can be achieved by following some simple steps.
1. Document any traffic laws violated that caused/contributed to the accident
To support your legal claim proving the fault of the third party driver, acquire documentation of
any traffic laws that were broken. The fault could be assigned for speeding, running a red light,
driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or the newest laws of distracted driving. Be sure
you are informed – of correct claims only – and it is likely your case will be taken much more
2. Obtain a police report if possible
If a police or traffic officer responded to the scene of the accident, obtain a copy of the police
report. Proving fault and receiving insurance benefits are much more likely if a police report is
on file. Especially if the officer has cited any violations on the part of the at-fault driver, the
report will contain statements and thoughts that will protect your interests.
Call a police officer to the scene if needed or file a statement at the closest police station. Be
careful not to admit to breaking violations yourself, but do not lie under oath. It is best to contact
a lawyer to guide this process.
3. Collect evidence of car damage
It is advisable to take photographs at the scene of the accident, specifically documenting the
location of damage to the vehicle. Investigators can use this evidence to prove the other party
was at fault.
4. Do not sign any statements or release forms
Until such time as an attorney familiar with Michigan auto law has been contacted, it is unwise
to sign any documents (statements or release forms) that may release your right to claim
benefits or sue another driver for accident-related injuries. Information contained in this helpful
guide can better inform the suing process after a car accident if you’re in Detroit. Suing the at-
fault-driver should be conducted carefully and always in consultation with a lawyer.
5. Be familiar with your auto insurance policy
The first important step is to check your auto insurance policy for fine print specifying limitations
or notification deadlines with which you need to comply. Your insurance policy may require
certain paperwork or information which is likely time-sensitive.
Policy-driven notification requirements highlight the urgency with which one should contact your
auto insurance company, as well as attorneys experienced in state-specific auto accidents. In
Michigan, a hit-and-run accident has a 30 day notification period. This is why It’s good to know
prior to an accident what your terms of agreement with your company are. If you are currently
considering car insurance policies, it’s best to compare different companies first. In this way,
you would know their rates and policy conditions before making any commitment. Ensure your
paid insurance is truly the best option for you!
6. Document personal injuries
It should first be mentioned that falsifying personal injury could see your claim be voided, so do
not attempt to do this. An additional warning is that all doctors’ appointments should be
attended, to show you are taking your injuries seriously and give no reason for the at-fault party
reason to doubt your injury claims.
Any personal injuries that are experienced, should be recorded as soon after the accident as
possible. It’s critical to maintain an accurate account of all/any:
● doctor’s appointments, medical services, or procedures conducted (laboratory tests, x-
ray, physical therapy).
● symptoms of pain, distress, and inconvenience – and photos of visible injuries.
● prescriptions or medications used. Keep evidence of all used medications and orthotics,
such as a cast or brace.
● medical bills and other important documents.
● replacement services to assist with housework or errands during the recovery period.
Once the car accident claim has been made, you and your lawyer should be hoping for the best
possible results. However, the following guidelines to preserve the best outcome may not
actually materialize as planned. It is important to keep in mind that every lawsuit runs differently
and it’s best to understand realistic possibilities as the case develops.