How to Determine Liability for Auto Accident Cases

How to Determine Liability for Auto Accident Cases

Determining liability varies from state to state. Each state having their own definitions and regulations on what constitutes a liable party. For Wisconsin personal injury claims, specifically auto accident cases, how to determine liability centers on the party who is at fault in a motor vehicle collision. Here a few quick tips as a guide to help you determine who is at fault after an auto accident.
Auto accidents can take many forms; however, the most common auto accident involves a collision between two or more vehicles, such as when a driver runs a red light, fails to yield, drives too fast during inclement weather, or does not pay attention when driving.
How to determine liability from an accident involving two or more vehicles typically involves the following chronology for a Milwaukee WI personal injury lawyer.
After a motor vehicle accident occurs, the parties will report the accident to the appropriate law enforcement agency. Then, a law enforcement officer will report to the scene of the accident to investigate and author a motor vehicle accident report. When the officer arrives, he/she will gather all the pertinent information, which will aid in how to determine liability. This investigation involves looking at the scene of the accident, including the environmental driving conditions and any damage to the vehicles. The officer will also interview the parties involved to the collision and any witnesses to the accident to help in determining liability.
If applicable, the officer may cite a party to the motor vehicle accident for violating a particular Wisconsin statute – specifically Chapter 346: Rules of the Road. Chapter 346 of the Wisconsin Statues provides guidance as to how to determine liability in auto accidents. For example, common violations include inattentive driving (Wis. Stats. Sec. 346.89), failing to yield the right-of-way (Wis. Stats. Sec. 346.18), following too closely to a vehicle (Wis. Stats. Sec. 346.14), and driving too fast for conditions (Wis. Stats. Sec. 346.57).
After concluding if any citations are applicable, the reporting officer will author a Wisconsin motor vehicle accident report, which will make a determination as to whom is at fault, if anyone. This accident report is an important tool in how to determine liability in auto accident cases, and is a vital starting point for any personal injury claim.
For other personal injury cases such as slip and falls, medical malpractice claims, and product liability, there are other standards for how to determine liability. However, for auto accident cases the party who is at fault can typically be found in the motor vehicle accident report authored by the reporting officer.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Hickey & Turim, SC for their insight into determining liability.

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