In at-fault states like Iowa and Illinois, determining fault after a crash is imperative. This is because the car insurance company of the at-fault driver is responsible for compensating the other driver and their passengers for any property damage or physical injuries sustained. Unfortunately, proving fault after an accident isn’t always easy. Find out what you can do to strengthen your case and prove your accident claim with this guide from the personal injury attorneys at WKC Law Firm.
Strategies for Proving Fault After an Accident
In certain types of accidents, one party is almost always held responsible for causing the accident. This includes rear-end collisions, drunk driving accidents, left-turn accidents, failure to yield the right of way, and crossing the center line on a two-way street. Although these are usually clear liability cases, extenuating factors may complicate your accident claim.
When it’s not clear who caused an accident (or an insurance company tries to deny your claim), you’ll need to present solid evidence to prove the other driver was at fault. A Quad Cities car accident lawyer can assist you in sourcing and obtaining evidence that will both establish liability and maximize your compensation.
Obtain a Police Report
A police report is a vital piece of information after a car accident. Under both Iowa and Illinois law, any traffic accident resulting in the injury or death of a person or more than $1,500 in property damage must be reported to police. Police reports may contain important information, including the date, time, and location of the accident, a diagram of the accident, weather, visibility, and roadway conditions at the accident scene, identifying witness information, and any traffic citations issued by the responding officer. All of this information can help you establish how an accident occurred and who was responsible.
Instructions for obtaining a traffic accident report in the Quad Cities are listed below. Your car accident attorney may also be able to request a copy of the police report on your behalf.
- Davenport Police Reports: You can request police reports for accidents that occurred in Davenport online through the Davenport Police Department. Each crash report costs $15.
- Bettendorf Police Reports: You can request police reports for accidents that occurred in Bettendorf online or in person through the Scott County Sheriff’s Office. You can also contact the records division of the Bettendorf Police Department by calling 563-344-4027.
- Moline Police Reports: You can request police reports for accidents that occurred in Moline online through the Moline Police Department. Each crash report costs $10.
- East Moline Police Reports: You can request police reports for accidents that occurred in East Moline online through the East Moline Police Department. Each crash report costs $13.
- Rock Island Police Reports: You can request police reports for accidents that occurred in Rock Island online through the Rock Island Police Department. Each crash report costs $13. You can also inquire about crash reports by calling the Traffic Records office at 309-732-2523.
Take Photos and Videos of the Accident Scene
Thanks to technological advances in mobile phones, most of us carry a high-quality camera with us everywhere we go. One of the most helpful things you can do after an accident is to take photographs of the scene. This may include damage to your vehicle, any injuries you’ve sustained, other vehicles that were involved, and how those vehicles came to a rest.
If you were injured and taken to a hospital, you probably didn’t have the chance to take any photos. That doesn’t mean that photos or video of your accident or the aftermath don’t exist, however. It is possible that responding police officers took photos, which should be included in your crash report. In addition, traffic cameras, dashboard cameras installed in surrounding vehicles, or security cameras from nearby businesses may have captured the moments leading up to your accident or the immediate aftermath. You or your attorney can request this footage to help bolster your claim.
Utilize Witness Statements
Like police reports, witness statements can serve as a third-party perspective when two or more drivers or their insurance companies are unable to agree who caused an accident. Ideally, witnesses will speak to a responding law enforcement officer while at the scene while their memory is fresh.
Witnesses can also be contacted after the fact using information from the police report to ask specific questions from the witness’s unique perspective that will help you and your injury attorney strengthen your case.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
Proving fault after an accident can be a complex process requiring time, patience, and the utmost attention to detail. When you’re already injured, trying to prove you weren’t the one at fault in a wreck can be downright exhausting. Chances are you’re more concerned with other day-to-day matters, like dealing with your medical bills, lost wages, and trying to get your car repaired.
Consulting with an experienced Quad Cities car accident lawyer can mean the difference between a denied claim or an insufficient settlement and the compensation you deserve after an accident. Between gathering evidence, negotiating with insurance companies, and representing you in court, a personal injury attorney will be with you every step of the way.
Get a Free Case Review from WKC Law Firm
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, legal help is just one phone call away. Our law office located in Rock Island, Illinois serves all of the Quad Cities, including Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa and Moline and East Moline, Illinois.
Call us anytime at (309) 794-1515 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation with a car accident lawyer. We’ll carefully review the details of your case and explain all your legal options at no charge. You can also reach us by connecting with a LiveChat agent or by sending us a message online.
Our legal team is also available for home and hospital visits, in addition to evening and weekend appointments. In addition, should you decide to use our services, you won’t pay us any fees unless we obtain a financial recovery on your behalf. Contact us today!