Last month we wrote about the rules for determining who’s at fault in a car accident. Though fault is not always a factor in a road accident claim, such considerations are crucial if you were seriously injured.
Henry Carus + Associates are committed to maximising your compensation. We thoroughly investigate car accidents and collect all available evidence. If it is determined that the other driver’s negligence led to the accident, we can pursue additional benefits and common law damages on your behalf.
Get help determining who’s at fault in a car accident by calling 03 9001 1318 for a FREE, no-obligation consultation. Henry Carus + Associates serve clients in Melbourne and throughout VIC.
What Is Fault in a Car Accident?
In Victoria, a driver is considered at-fault for an accident if he or she fails ‘to take reasonable care to avoid causing injury or loss to another person’ (per the TAC). Fault comes in many different forms, with the actions and behaviours that commonly result in car accidents including:
- Distracted driving
- Failure to give way
- Not leaving enough space between vehicles (tailgating)
- Unsafe turns and lane changes
- Fatigued driving
- Reckless or aggressive driving
- Drink driving or driving under the influence of drugs
Who’s at fault for a car accident may seem obvious to you. However, your word alone will likely not be enough. TAC claims for common law damages (i.e., personal injury damages) must be supported by compelling evidence.
Determining Fault for a Car Accident
Multiple parties may investigate the accident for different purposes. The police will investigate to determine if any drivers need to be cited for traffic offences. Accidents are also investigated by the TAC to assess liability for benefits and damages. Finally, car accident lawyers determine who’s at fault to identify their clients’ legal options and ensure that their interests are protected.
Important components of identifying who is at fault for a car accident include:
- The rules of the road and applicable legislation
- Witness statements
- Photographs and video
- Testimony from the individuals involved
- Positioning of the vehicles in the roadway
- Location of vehicle damage
- The police report
- Expert testimony
- Weather and road conditions
All of the parties investigating the accident will seek out this information to determine fault. However, only a car accident lawyer has your best interest at heart.
Why Is Fault Important?
Fault is not a factor in TAC claims where the victim is only entitled to benefits for medical expenses, income support, and the like. If you have been in a road accident in Victoria, you are entitled to these benefits regardless of who’s at fault.
However, fault is a major consideration in common law damages claims. In fact, the two things you need to prove to claim common law compensation are:
- The accident occurred due to the negligence of another. Usually, this is the driver of another vehicle, but other individuals and organisations may be at fault.
- You suffered a serious injury. Many different injuries may be considered ‘serious’, but the TAC follows a specific definition.
Common law damages cover losses and impacts on your life that are not covered by no-fault benefits. These include pain and suffering, loss of earnings, and more. Obtaining additional compensation can help you overcome the challenges you may face after being seriously injured in a car accident.
Can Multiple People Be at Fault for a Car Accident?
Yes, the evidence may show that more than one person contributed to the accident. The TAC handles common law damages claims on the basis of ‘contributory negligence’, which means you may still be entitled to compensation even if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident.
As a rule, one or more of the drivers involved in the accident are found to be at fault. However, further investigation may reveal that the negligence of multiple parties was a factor. This may include the employer of a motorist who was driving as part of his job, a council responsible for a dangerous road, the manufacturer of a defective tyre or other component that causes the vehicle to crash, etc. These finds may expand your legal options for pursuing compensation.
Common Types of Car Accidents, and Who’s (Usually) At Fault
While every car accident is unique, particular drivers are usually found to be at fault for certain types of crashes. Some of the most common scenarios where this situation applies include:
Who Is At Fault for a Rear-End Collision?
The driver in the rear is usually held liable for a rear-end collision. Also called nose-to-tail crashes, these are the most common type of car accident in Victoria and Australia as a whole.
Who Is At Fault for a Head-on Collision?
Fault for a head-on collision usually rests with the driver who is travelling in the wrong direction.
Who Is At Fault for a Side-Impact Accident?
Most side-impact crashes occur due to a driver’s failure to stop at a red light or obey the traffic signs at an intersection. Drivers who violate the right of way are typically at fault if they cause an accident.
Who Is At Fault for a Right-Turn Accident?
Fault for a right-turn or hook-turn accident depends on the particular circumstances. While common wisdom may suggest that the turning driver is usually at fault, this is not always the case.
Read More: Who Is At Fault for a Right Turn Accident?
Who Is At Fault for a Reversing Collision?
Drivers moving in reverse are responsible for checking their surroundings and steering clear of other vehicles, people, and objects. When they fail to do so, the reversing motorist is almost always found to be at fault.
Find Out Who’s at Fault in a Car Accident and What Your Rights Are
The TAC lawyers at Henry Carus + Associates have decades of experience helping clients navigate TAC claims. Our motto is You Deserve More.
In addition to applying for the maximum no-fault benefits, our No Win No Fee lawyers can help you pursue common law damages for serious injuries sustained in a car accident. We have the skills and resources to investigate the crash, determine who’s at fault, and aggressively fight for the favourable outcome you deserve.