Understanding Motor Vehicle Accident Liability

In the event of a motor vehicle accident, it is important to prove who was responsible or liable for the accident – in other words, who made the mistake or who is ‘negligent’. It may seem obvious if you were actually there, however proving fault isn’t always an easy process, particularly for car insurance companies when it comes to Queensland car accident claims. One key component of helping to prove who was at fault is evidence, and a number of things can assist with determining this.

The Police Report

Police don’t always attend the scene of a motor vehicle accident, however accidents must be reported to the police if there is any damage to vehicles or anyone is injured or dies. If they do attend, they may test the drivers involved for drugs or alcohol and they will probably make some type of official police report, which is basically a written recollection often containing evidence about liability, including their opinion on what occurred.

The police will ask for information about any vehicle, person, animal or property involved in the accident and how the accident happened, which may include interviewing passengers, witnesses or other people not involved in the accident. It is a criminal offence not to give this information to the police when asked, or to give false information about a traffic accident.

‘One Party’ Negligence

In terms of claiming for Queensland motor vehicle accidents where damage has occurred, you need to be able to prove that another person was at fault. If a person is convicted of a criminal offence as a result of an accident, like driving while under the influence of alcohol, driving above the speed limit, or failing to stop at a red light or a stop sign, it is more likely that they will be found guilty of negligence.

Certain kinds of accidents are also often one party’s fault and these include rear-end collisions. This is because one of the basic driving rules is that you need to leave enough room in front of your car to brake safely if the car in front of you stops suddenly. However, if faulty brake lights or a flat tire caused you to stop in the middle of the road, you may be deemed to be partly negligent.

Contributory Negligence

If you are undertaking the process of applying for Queensland car accident compensation, in many cases it’s difficult to prove that only one party involved was at fault. In this instance, the cost of damage may be shared between both parties according to the degree of responsibility for the accident. In this instance, both parties are what’s called ‘contributorily negligent’.

This type of negligence often occurs with accidents at intersections – a driver who fails to give way may be found to be 90% responsible for the accident (particularly if they are speeding or have run a red light), while the driver of the vehicle who has right of way may be held 10% responsible. This is because all drivers are expected to maintain a certain degree of attention, even if they have the right of way.

Sound confusing? It is! Which is why services that assist with the claims process are so valuable.

Learn more about our Claimify process.

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