Establish who's at fault in a car, motorcycle, or bicycle accident or crash.
In many cases common sense will tell you that a driver, cyclist, or pedestrian acted carelessly, but you may not know what laws or rules that person violated. Your argument to an insurance company that another person was at fault for an accident can be strengthened if you find some "official" support for your conclusion. Here are a number of places to look for such support.
If the police came to the scene of your accident, particularly if they knew that someone was injured, they probably made a written accident report. Ask the traffic division of the police department how to get a copy.
Sometimes a police report plainly states an officer's opinion that someone violated a specific traffic law and that the violation caused the accident. It may even state that the officer issued a citation. Other times, the report merely mentions negligent behavior, without plainly stating that the violation caused the accident.
Regardless of how specific it is, any mention in a police report of a traffic law violation or careless driving by another person can serve as great support in showing that the other person was at fault.
State Traffic Laws
Another place to look for support for your argument that the other driver was at fault is in the state laws that govern driving. These rules of the road are contained in each state's statutes and are usually known as the vehicle code.
A simplified version of these laws (sometimes called "The Rules of the Road") is often available at a local department of motor vehicles office. The complete vehicle code is usually available at many public libraries, and all law libraries. You can also browse your state's statutes online using Nolo's Legal Research area.
In the index to the vehicle code, look for listings that may apply to your accident. For example, there may be listings for "speed limits," "right of... [continues]
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