After a Car Accident, Is Determining Fault by the Location of Damage Possible?

For our clients injured in car accidents, obtaining fair compensation for injuries and expenses is a top priority. But pursuing a settlement first requires determining fault. There are many ways to do so. For example, witness accounts, photographs of the scene, and police reports can help identify the negligent driver. It’s also possible, after a car accident, to determine fault by the location of the damage.

While the location of the damage doesn’t always tell the full story, it can help work back in time and determine where the vehicle(s) were just before the collision. The type of damage can also reveal their direction of travel and relative speed. For some types of damage, there’s only one cause, or, the damage may help rule out certain causes of an accident.

How the Location of Damage Can Determine Fault

Damage from a car accident doesn’t always prove fault. But it does help build a chain of events to reconstruct what happened. Here are some examples of when, investigating a car accident, determining fault by the location of the damage is possible:

  • Side-Impact Accidents: A T-bone accident is often caused by a car turning in front of a vehicle that sustained front-end damage. It may be assumed the other vehicle failed to brake in time if there’s side damage towards the back. Or, the lead driver with front-end damage, rather than someone who turned in front of them, is accountable if they ran a light. The extent of the damages can help approximate the speed of the vehicles as they collided.
  • Rear-End Collision: Damage to the back bumper of one car and the front end of another is strong evidence the second car was following too closely. The causes of a rear-end collision include brake failure, poor road maintenance, or weather conditions, so the accident doesn’t always pin fault on the driver. However, distracted driving, tailgating, reaching for items in the vehicle, and driving under the influence often lead to rear-end collisions.
  • Sideswipe Accidents: The damage is typically focused on one driver’s side of a vehicle, often resulting in serious injuries. Sideswipe accidents occur due to negligence (distracted/tired/drunk driving or road rage). The sideswiped driver often attempts to avoid the other car, limiting fault but possibly forcing them into the path of another vehicle or off the road. Sideswipes often happen while merging on a highway, navigating blind turns, or passing a vehicle while making a left turn.

When Damage May Not Prove Fault

However, the damage may not prove fault if:

  • Your vehicle’s passenger side and the other driver’s front end are damaged.
  • The lead car jammed the brakes; while the rear car was at a safe distance, it could not avoid impact.
  • A car at an intersection suffers front-end damage, while a vehicle turning has damage to the passenger side door (doesn’t show who had the right of way).

But in the last example, the location of the damage can show whether either driver attempted to avoid the collision. For the driver traveling straight through the intersection, the direction of impact will change if they turned their wheel at the last second. Therefore, the angle of damage is just as important as the location. It can prove whether the driver was paying attention and attempted to avoid a collision or minimize its impact.

Witness accounts and other evidence, such as tire marks, weather conditions, and signs of speeding or intoxication will be used by your attorney to identify the party at fault. But a car accident attorney also has extensive knowledge of how the location of damage relates to the direction, speed, and attentiveness of a driver. Using this knowledge, they can determine if that driver is at fault.

Call the Law Offices of Jacob Emrani

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, determining fault by the location of the damage is possible. Our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys have handled and won numerous accident cases over the years. Their knowledge and expertise allow them to use the location, angle, and severity of the damage to determine if a driver was speeding, failing to yield the right of way, following too closely, turning illegally, or not paying attention at the time of a crash. We’ll fight for the compensation you need and deserve. To schedule your free consultation, contact us online or call (888) 952-2952.

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southern california


714 W. Olympic Blvd.
Suite 300
Los Angeles, CA 90015


Our Main Location

Los Angeles

serving southern california


714 W. Olympic Blvd.
Suite 300
Los Angeles, CA 90015


(888) 508-5085