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Proving Liability in Personal Injury Cases

Securing a fair recovery in a personal injury case involves proving both liability and damages. Damages merely refer to the amount of money that should be paid out to the entitled party based on the costs incurred by the accident victim as a result of the accident. But first it is necessary to prove liability or to show who bears legal responsibility for the consequences of the incident. 


In many cases here in New Mexico and other states, it is readily apparent who caused an accident. Particularly in situations where one driver rear ends another vehicle, it can be quite obvious as to who is liable. But in many cases, the at-fault party or the insurer may persist in denying that he or she actually bears responsibility. In these cases, there are many ways to establish liability.


First and foremost, if the responding police officer cites the at-fault driver for a traffic violation such as “following too closely” or “failure to yield”, that driver’s insurance company may concede liability. In some situations, the police may not issue a traffic citation to any involved driver but the narrative of the accident, as detailed in the police report, may prod the insurance company towards acceptance of liability on behalf of their insured.


A common way to prove liability stems from testimony of third-party witnesses. Preferably, such witnesses have no prior relationship with any of the involved drivers or injured parties so that their credibility will not be questioned.


 In other cases, the relative physical positions of the vehicles involved after the accident occurs may demonstrate which vehicle caused the collision or incident. Skid marks, if visible, can likewise be assessed to deduce the cause.


Unfortunately, there may be more challenging situations where it is unclear upon initial visible review of the scene to ascertain who is at fault. And many accidents occur outside the visual range of any witnesses. For these cases, the injured party or personal injury attorney may need to secure an accident reconstruction expert to analyze all of the available evidence and reach an authoritative conclusion as to who caused the accident and how it was caused.   


The New Mexico lawyers at Giddens & Gatton Law, P.C. represent individuals in personal injury suits in New Mexico. Giddens & Gatton Law, P.C. is located at 10400 Academy Road N.E., Suite 350 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Call the office at (505) 633-6298 to set up an appointment or visit the firm’s website at for more information

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