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How do you determine fault after a New Jersey car crash?

New Jersey requires drivers to purchase personal injury protection insurance to cover at least $15,000 of damages after a motor vehicle accident. However, if the injuries and property loss exceed that, the injured parties will have to pursue compensation from the insurance company of the at-fault driver.

This process can be arduous, and an insurance company may dispute a claim that a driver on its policy is responsible. Therefore, a person needs to know what evidence can help establish fault in a car accident.

The type of collision

The type of collision may indicate who is liable for the accident. For example, a rear-end collision usually means the rear driver is responsible. The law requires drivers to maintain a safe distance and be ready to stop, so the front driver is only at fault in rare circumstances. Also, the driver who is turning across a lane of traffic may more often be at fault because the oncoming drivers usually have the right of way.

The testimony of witnesses

Eyewitness testimony can be valuable in establishing fault after a car accident. Witnesses who directly observe the collision can provide firsthand accounts of the events leading up to and following the accident. Their descriptions of the actions of each driver, the sequence of events and any traffic violations can offer insights into who is responsible.

Additionally, eyewitnesses who arrive at the scene shortly after the accident can provide supplementary information, such as the positions of the vehicles and any visible injuries. Even the insights of experts, like accident reconstructionists, can analyze evidence of things like skid marks and vehicle damage to provide objective assessments of fault.

Photos and videos

Dashcams can provide visual evidence of what occurred to establish a clear sequence of events. Similarly, photos can document the scene, showcasing details such as road conditions, traffic signs and vehicle damage.

Vehicle inspections

By examining the condition of the vehicles, mechanics can uncover whether mechanical malfunctions, brake failures or worn tires contributed to the accident. Additionally, inspections might reveal any pre-existing damage or maintenance issues that might have played a role in the collision. This information might highlight negligence on the part of the vehicle manufacturer, seller, repairperson or owner.

Drivers should be aware that multiple parties can be at fault, requiring them to pursue damages from different sources. With clear evidence of the liable parties, injured persons can pursue full compensation to aid in recovery.