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How is fault determined in an Australian motor vehicle accident claim?

In Western Australia, determining fault in a motor vehicle accident claim typically involves assessing which party (or parties) were negligent and contributed to the cause of the accident. The process generally includes the following considerations:

Police Reports: The police report is a key document in determining fault. It contains details about the accident, observations by the responding officers, and sometimes includes their assessment of who was at fault.

Traffic Laws: Violation of traffic laws, such as speeding, running a red light, or driving under the influence, can be a strong indicator of fault. The investigation will consider whether any traffic laws were broken and how that contributed to the accident.

Witness Statements: Statements from witnesses can provide crucial information about the circumstances of the accident, such as the behaviour of drivers, road conditions, and the sequence of events.

Evidence from the Scene: This includes photographs or videos of the accident scene, skid marks, vehicle damage, and any other physical evidence that can shed light on what happened.

Driver Statements: The accounts of the drivers involved are also considered. However, it’s important to be cautious in these statements and ideally consult with a lawyer before providing a detailed account.

Expert Analysis: Sometimes, accident reconstruction experts are brought in to analyse the evidence and provide a professional opinion on how the accident occurred and who was at fault.

Insurance Investigations: Insurance companies conduct their own investigations to determine fault, which can include reviewing all of the above elements.

It’s important to note that Western Australia operates under a ‘modified comparative negligence’ system. This means that compensation can be reduced if the claimant is found to be partly at fault for the accident. If a claimant is found to be more than 50% at fault, they may not be eligible for compensation.

Due to the complexities involved in determining fault and the impact it can have on a claim, it is advisable to seek legal advice, particularly from a lawyer experienced in Western Australian motor vehicle accident law. At ACL we can provide guidance, represent your interests, and help ensure that the fault is assessed fairly.

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