How to Find Out Who’s at Fault in the Accident

How to Find Out Who’s at Fault in the Accident

Turkey keeps about two thousand accident reports throughout the day. Well, how are these reports examined? How is it determined who’s at fault in an accident? This article will be an answer to your questions.

According to the data of Turkey Statistical Institute, 1 million 182 thousand 491 traffic accidents occurred last year. Unfortunately, 185 thousand 128 of these accidents resulted in deaths and injuries. 997 thousand 363 accidents resulted in material damages. In other words, almost 85 percent of the accidents were the ones that would lead to material damage. 75 percent of the accidents occurred in the settlement.

What should we do about the damage occurred in the accident if we are so sure of our safety? Quick Insurance Director of Claims Hakan Alkan explained how he determines drivers’ liability in an accident with examples scenarios.

Director of Claims Hakan Alkan
Director of Claims Hakan Alkan

What should we do about the damage occurred in the accident if we are so sure of our safety? Quick Insurance Director of Claims Hakan Alkan explained how he determines drivers’ liability in an accident with examples scenarios.

What should we care about in a traffic accident after safety?

As you say, life safety comes first. If there is no injury, you should go to a safe area. Before pulling the cars off the accident scene, you must take a few shots from different angles. This is really important. These photos will provide the insurance companies with clues to decide which driver will be held responsible for resulting accident.

How do we take these photos?

We must also photograph both our own vehicle and the other one from the front, rear and sides as well as photographing both vehicles in general. If you just take a picture of your own vehicle, you can document the damage, but all the details should be photographed as much as possible so that we can understand how it happened. If there are warnings such as a “stop” or “no turning” sign, they should also be photographed. There is a hierarchy in traffic as to which vehicle has the right of the way on which road. Thruway has an advantage over the street. The avenue is also superior to the street. For that reason, it would be better if you have a photograph of the road where the accident took place. If you do not have a photo, the address must be specified. After photographing, the vehicles must be removed from the scene so that traffic safety can be restored.

After this stage, both drivers must keep a record. In the past, the police were called when there was an accident. But, today it is very difficult. Especially when there are many traffic accidents in Istanbul… In addition to occupying the police, it did take hours for the police officers to arrive in the accident scene and the traffic was stuck. So, the insurance workers' association and the security department conducted a joint project analyzing the examples in abroad. I have also participated in these studies. We have decided on a unique system for Turkey. A form has been created for people who get involved in an accident to keep an accident report.

What information is included in this form?

In this form, it must be stated how and where the accident took place. There is also a part for the statements of drivers and eyewitnesses, if any. Identity, vehicle and insurance information are also filled in the form. There is an empty space left for drawing the sketch of the accident.

Do the drivers fill in this form by coming to an agreement?

No, they do not have to come to an agreement. The parties may find each other faulty. It is not important. The committee will decide on it. For example, you hit a vehicle and keep a report on it thinking that you have the fault. According to the situation the Commission examined, you had the right of the way, for example. In this case, the other party has the fault. The parties shall sign the statement in duplicate or copy and submit it to their insurance companies.

What should be done except for taking photographs and keeping a record?

If there is an eye-witness, his/her statement is important. Video records of workplaces around can also be very helpful especially when there is no photograph or eyewitness.

Could you tell who’s at fault through example accident scenarios?

SCENARIO 1:

Scenario 1
Scenario 1

For example, this is an uncontrolled junction. There is neither traffic light nor traffic police. Because there are two paths of the same width, they do not have any advantage over the other. Then, the car coming from the right side has the priority. The blue one of these two vehicles, had to wait for the red one. In this case, the blue vehicle is at fault.

SCENARIO 2:

Scenario 2
Scenario 12

Here, we can see incorrect lane change of the blue car. While it was overtaking the other vehicle in the front, it violated the lane rights.

SCENARIO 3:

Scenario 3
Scenario 3

In this map, there is a main road and a link to it. Therefore, the vehicle on the linking road had to wait its turn. The blue car is at fault because it did not wait for the red one.

SCENARIO 4:

s4
Scenario 4

Two cars collide in the parking lot as they go back up. Here, both vehicles are 50 percent faulty.

SCENARIO 5:

Scenario5
Scenario 5

In this scenario, vehicle A is faulty because it stopped at the green light, vehicle B is faulty because it could not maintain the speed limit. According to Article 57 and 52 of the Highway Traffic Law, we can say that each vehicle has 50 percent fault. Although it looks like this on the paper, the traffic reports are important. For example, if the driver of the vehicle A explains the reason why he stops as “the cat was passing by” which is a plausible excuse, the driver B is the faulty one in this case. In Turkey, generally the driver who hit at the back is seen as faulty one apart from the exception, in practice.

SCENARIO 6:

Scenario 6
Scenario 6

Both vehicles are regarded as faulty by 50 percent because they violate the other's lane and do not follow the right lane.

If there is no photograph, no witness, and the parties blame each other, if there is a controversial situation, how do you solve it?

Probably 50 percent of both sides are faulty. But this process works as follows: Drivers involved in an accident apply to the insurance company demanding their damage cost. The expert loads the accident report onto the system which is called as Tramer (Traffic Insurance Information Center). This record is automatically transferred to insurance account of the two vehicles involved in the accident. In other words, if these vehicles’ motor insurance belongs to three companies, the issue concerns these three. It has to be decided within three business days. It's actually a tiring process. Because the number of reports is almost 2 thousand per day throughout Turkey. If these insurance companies can compromise and make a common decision, let's say that they agreed on the fact that each vehicle is 50 percent faulty then, a decision can be made. However, if different decisions are made, there is a dispute and here comes the Tramer Commission, which works in the state department. This commission has specialized traffic policemen or officials with expertise in the field. They also have to decide by majority of votes after examining the file and interpreting it. The decision is notified to the insured vehicle owners via SMS. The owner of the vehicle who thinks the decision is not fair can state their opposition within three business days. This is usually done by us, that is, through the insurance companies to which they are affiliated. But, such an objection does not mean a lot. If there is any information, photograph, video or expression other than the information examined, then the objection makes sense. Of course, there can be mistakes since they are so busy. For example, the person who was hit by another car in the park area was found to be faulty. But, if a material damage is made, it is possible to get it back. Of course, it is very unlikely to find someone saying that "I have the fault," under Turkey’s recent conditions. Everyone is "right". It is always the fault of another car the license number of which is not noted by the driver. Nobody says I was talking on phone while driving because it cannot be proved. At this point, MOBESEs (Mobile Electronic Camera Systems) or honorary traffic inspectors can be helpful detecting those who ignore the red light or use mobile phones at traffic. Drivers need to know that if they violate the rules, they will be punished. It is very difficult to prevent accidents, otherwise.

Do you remember any material damaged accidents the result of which is surprising?

Broken Car

Yes, there has been such an accident recently. The person who kept a report and drew a scenario of the accident claimed that another vehicle hit the left door of his car while it was in the parking lot on the right lane. The blamed party also commented that “I wasn’t that careful. I hit the car. The fault is mine.”

The expert has investigated the incident and said, "This accident cannot be as described." Why not? Because, when we look at the photos of the struck vehicle, we see that the damage can only happen when the left front door is open. So, the door of the vehicle in the parking lot is open. If it had been hit by a closed door, there would not be such a bending in the metal. The owner of the car does not accept that the door was open. When we talked to the person who hit the car, he said, "It was a narrow path and he opened the door to get off”. And we asked, "Why did not you say that?". “I thought, I was the faulty one" he said. In this case, the faulty party completely changes.

Finally, would you tell us about yourself?

I started the insurance business in 1987. I worked in Şark Insurance, Koç Allianz and Allianz companies. I was working as a Claims Manager. I was retired in 2009 and decided to be an expert. After six years of accident expertise, I started working as a Claims Coordinator at Quick Insurance. Therefore, during my professional life, I worked both in the claims side and technical service side where policies are made, as well as the expertise side, that includes all aspects of this industry.