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How Can You Tell Who Hit Who in a Car Accident?

Are you wondering how you can tell who hit who in a car accident? If yes, you should check out this guide on how to determine fault.

The police are responsible for determining fault in any accident. They come to the conclusion after examining the scene and interviewing everyone involved. Sometimes, it can be an easy determination. However, there are times when it’s a little less obvious.

So how can you tell who hit who in a car accident?

How Can You Tell Who Hit Who in a Car Accident

Depending on how much damage and where it is on a car, it’s easy to see who was at fault. For example, if you have severe damage to the passenger’s side, it’s pretty clear you are not at fault. There would be no way to cause damage from the middle of a car.

However, it’s not always as clear. For example, if two cars collide and leave damage on the front end of one and damage to the driver’s side of another. This could be that one car hit the other coming out of a parking spot.

It could also be that the other car was going so fast the first one couldn’t stop in time. There is evidence that could support either driver would be at fault.

Rear-End Collisions: If a car hits yours from behind, you will almost never be at fault. This is because safety laws require drivers to leave enough distance to give them time to stop or turn. The law will not side with a driver who neglected to give enough room. between cars.

Left-Turn Collisions: The law requires drivers to yield when making a left-hand turn. So if a car takes a left turn and hits yours, it would rarely be your fault.

Traffic Laws

Traffic laws are in place for good reason. And, for the most part, are carried over to all 50 states. If it’s clear that a driver violated a traffic law, then that is the person at fault.

Commonly broken laws that result in an accident include:

Running a red light, driving over the speed limit, running a stop sign and driving under the influence.

Research your local laws. There are some laws that are unique to your state, county, and municipality. You can find these at The Department of Motor Vehicles (online or in-person). There may be specific rules that would apply to your case.

If an officer arrives at the scene, these laws will be recited when deciding who is at fault. 

Insurance Agencies

Sometimes, the driver at fault will deny responsibility in an accident. When this is the case, the insurance company will review evidence to determine who is at fault.

If you are in an accident, it is important to gather as much evidence as you possibly can. Photos, contact information, and license plate numbers can all help an insurance company determine fault.

Note: Insurance companies are less likely to pay for damages if there is no police report. 


Saying “I’m sorry” is usually a good thing. However, if you are on the scene of an accident, those two words are an admission of guilt, even if you aren’t at fault.

To avoid a false admission, avoid conversation with the other party in an accident scene. Ask if the other person is all right and gather insurance information, but do not engage after. A person who apologizes at the scene is evidence for being at fault.

Police Reports

If there is any damage to a person or a vehicle, most states have laws that require the police to be notified. When you call a police officer to the scene, they will create a report. 

Sometimes, the report will list who the officer believes is at fault. Other times, he or she will include details of the scene to be used as evidence later. This should always be an objective analysis. 

The report will indicate if either driver was cited for the accident. It will also say if either driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident. 

If there is a report made during an accident, you’ll want to ask for a copy for your records. Be sure to check it over and make sure there aren’t any small mistakes such as the time of the accident. Those are easy to fix right away. Larger mistakes could make for a more difficult decision as to who is at fault. 


If you are in an accident and it isn’t straightforward as to who caused it, it may be best to contact a car crash lawyer. This is especially true if there is any bodily harm. 

The procedure to follow after a large accident differs depending on where you are. An attorney would be able to answer any questions you may have and help you streamline the process of filing a claim. 

Protecting Yourself

After any accident, you’ll want to make sure you cover all your bases. This is a quintessential part of how can you tell who hit who in a car accident. 

Get the names and contacts of any witnesses to the accident. Liability often boils down to one person’s word versus another. So collecting witness names and contact information is critical. 

Take pictures of the scene and any vehicle damage. Take as many photos as you can, from as many angles as possible. This will help determine who is at fault when insurance companies review evidence. Don’t forget to also take pictures of any debris that fell off the vehicles.

Call the police for assistance. Laws in most states require police to be notified in the case of an accident, especially when there is damage. A police report will also be evident when determining that driver at fault. 

Be sure to ask for a copy in case you may need it later. And look over that copy for any inaccuracies. 

A small incorrect detail such as time or place is better to fix early before there are any questions. A larger mistake could mean the inability to determine who was at fault at all.

For more information on how to protect yourself both on and off the road, check out our blog for more tips and advice. 

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