How Do Personal Injury Lawyers Determine Fault After an Accident?

Close-up of a man taking photos of a damaged car after crash
Whether you’re hurt in a car accident or a slip-and-fall incident, dealing with the aftermath can be daunting. At Thomas, Conrad & Conrad Law offices, our personal injury lawyers have a track record of success helping clients in the Lehigh Valley and eastern Pennsylvania recover compensation for damages such as medical expenses, wage loss, and pain and suffering. Knowing how we determine fault in these cases can help you understand the claims process and what to do to protect your rights after an accident.

Elements of Proving Liability in a Personal Injury Claim

When a motorist gets behind the wheel, they have a duty of care to operate their vehicle safely. If they fail to do this and cause an accident, they could be considered negligent. To establish liability and demonstrate that they were negligent, you must show that:

  • The negligent party owed you a duty of care
  • They breached that duty
  • Their breach of duty caused the accident
  • You suffered damages and losses due to the accident

Experienced personal injury lawyers know how to gather relevant evidence and put it all together to show who was at fault for an accident. However, it’s important to keep in mind that Pennsylvania is a no-fault state, which means that your own insurer pays for certain damages, no matter who was at fault for the crash. If your damages exceed your policy limits or involve catastrophic injuries, you also may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against any liable parties. 

Types of Evidence that Help Determine Fault in Personal Injury Claims 

Each case is unique, but some common types of evidence can be helpful when determining fault. Your personal injury attorney will conduct a thorough investigation and gather evidence such as:

Police Reports

A police report usually contains information about what an officer observed at an accident scene. This could include road conditions, skid marks, damage to vehicles, and statements from witnesses and parties involved in the crash. This information provides valuable documentation that can help demonstrate fault and support a personal injury claim. After a crash, you should always call 911 or local police to ensure that the event is documented and that you receive the help you need.


Photographs of damage to vehicles, your injuries, the scene, and anything else that may be relevant are often crucial when it comes to determining fault in a car accident. If possible, you should always take photos and video if you’re involved in a collision.

Surveillance Footage

Surveillance cameras seem to be everywhere these days and can show exactly how an accident occurred. Your personal injury attorney can request copies of the video from the agency or company responsible for the cameras and get a subpoena if necessary. Surveillance footage can be helpful in premises liability claims like slip-and-fall cases as well.

Witness Statements

Eyewitness statements can offer insight into who’s at fault for an accident. That’s why it’s important to get contact information from anyone who may have witnessed the crash.

Medical Records

If you’re involved in a car accident, you should always go to the emergency room or see a doctor as soon as possible. Medical records provide valuable evidence of the severity of your injuries and may show how they could have occurred. Even if you don’t think you’re seriously injured, symptoms of life-threatening conditions such as internal bleeding don’t always appear right away, so it’s best to get checked out.

Traffic Laws

If any traffic laws were violated, a personal injury lawyer will investigate how that may have contributed to the crash when determining who is at fault for a motor vehicle accident.

Expert Testimony

Accident reconstructionists examine evidence and the scene to determine the probable speed and path of vehicles involved in a crash. Other evidence such as eyewitness accounts and medical records also can be important pieces of the puzzle to demonstrate what happened and who is liable for damages.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney in the Lehigh Valley

If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident, the personal injury lawyers at Thomas, Conrad & Conrad Law Offices are here for you. We’re dedicated to helping make things right for you and your family, and our team includes some of the best personal injury attorneys in eastern Pennsylvania. To schedule a consultation today with a car accident lawyer in the Lehigh Valley, contact us or call us at 610-867-2900. We offer several locations for your convenience.


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