07 Oct Understanding Fault in a Car Accident
Getting into a car accident can be a traumatic experience. After a crash, the most important thing to do is check for injuries.
Then, make sure you get everyone’s name, contact information and insurance details. It’s also a good idea to take pictures of the scene. This will help with the process of determining fault later on.
What Is Fault?
Fault is a big deal in a car accident because it determines who pays for the victims’ losses. Fault also affects insurance rates. In many states, drivers can’t get coverage under their own auto insurance policies if they are found at fault for a car accident. For this reason, it is important for all parties involved in a crash to understand what fault means and how it impacts their case.
Fault in a car accident is often determined by police officers who investigate the scene of the crash. Officers will interview all of the drivers, passengers and witnesses to gather information. They will review the physical evidence at the scene, such as skid marks and car damage. They will also review any security footage that might be available, if applicable. Officers will then write up a police report that includes their professional opinion of who was at fault in the accident.
The police report is a key piece of evidence in most cases, but it does not necessarily dictate who was at fault for the crash. The at-fault driver’s insurance company may disagree with the police’s determination of fault. This can cause delays in the settlement process or result in an insurer refusing to settle a claim entirely.
Other factors can also help to determine fault, such as how fast the vehicle was going when the collision occurred, whether or not a driver was speeding at the time of the wreck and even whether the driver has prior driving offenses. An experienced attorney can help to review all of the evidence in a case and determine who is responsible for the crash.
It is also important for a victim to let their insurance company know about the crash right away. Not only will this enable them to start processing their claim, but it will also prevent the other party’s insurance company from trying to change the story or take advantage of the victim by claiming they are partially at fault as well.
Some states have no-fault insurance laws where the person’s own car insurance covers medical expenses and other costs, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. However, these laws do not impact how fault is determined for other losses, such as property damages.
How Does Fault Affect Your Case?
For lawyers, insurance adjusters and others involved in the legal system, fault can mean something very different than it does for ordinary people. It’s important to understand this because the determination of fault will play a big role in how your car accident case is resolved. It can also impact your ability to get restitution for losses you’ve suffered, especially if you have bodily injury liability coverage.
It’s common for drivers to immediately want to point the finger at each other after a crash, but it’s important to remember that the truth matters more than who you blame. Admitting fault to police officers, other drivers or even to your own insurer can hurt your chances of getting fair compensation for your injuries and property damage. Insurance companies and attorneys have a vested interest in making you believe you are at fault, so you shouldn’t admit to anything until you’ve talked to a lawyer.
In many cases, it’s possible to determine fault based on evidence at the scene of the crash. Traffic cameras, witness statements and physical evidence like skid marks or the positioning of vehicles after a collision can all help. Getting the police involved early on can be a good way to get this type of information, as they may issue citations that can later be used to prove fault.
You can also rely on the assessment of your vehicle’s damage by a body shop or mechanic. This can highlight points of impact, the speed of the other driver and other key factors in determining fault. Getting this information documented can help your attorney establish that the other driver was negligent and should be held accountable for your damages.
If you have liability insurance, it’s important to note that you can still recover your losses even if you are found more than 50 percent at fault in the accident. This is because Texas courts follow a rule known as modified comparative negligence, which allows you to recover expenses even if you are found more than half at fault for the accident.
What Can You Do to Help Determine Fault?
The answer to who was at fault for Auto accidents isn’t always as clear-cut as a police officer stepping onto the scene and eyeing everyone involved. In many cases, fault is heavily disputed, which can affect insurance company payouts and legal claims.
There are a few things you can do to help determine fault in your case. The most important is to call the police and have a full written report on file. This will include important physical evidence, such as skid marks and damage to cars and roads. It will also include information about the people in the crash, including their name and insurance companies.
If possible, it’s best to take pictures with your phone before any vehicles are moved from the scene. Having an image of the other driver’s vehicle, your own and the crash site can make all the difference in proving no-fault at trial. It’s also a good idea to talk with any eye witnesses and get their contact information. Even a brief statement about what they saw can be helpful in a fault determination.
Finally, a medical professional can help with determining fault by taking notes on your injuries and how they occurred. This can be crucial if you need to prove your innocence to an insurer.
For drivers who have no-fault insurance coverage, a police report may not be necessary. However, the insurance company will still need to appoint an adjuster and review the accident details to determine liability for property damages and serious injuries that exceed PIP coverage. In determining fault, the insurance company will look at all the relevant facts and applicable state laws that define negligence.
Fault is determined based on the negligent actions of someone, and the most common way this occurs in car accidents is by someone failing to exercise reasonable care in driving. If you’ve been injured in a crash, the team at Matthiesen, Wickert & Lehrer can help. We have a proven track record of helping car accident victims and their families receive the compensation they need. To learn more about how our firm can assist you, schedule a free consultation with us today.
What Can You Do to Avoid Fault?
A car accident can be a chaotic and confusing time. There are often multiple people involved, many vehicles, and varying accounts of what happened. Ultimately, it is up to the police and insurance companies to determine who was at fault for the crash. Insurance adjusters will review evidence like photos, physical evidence of damage to vehicles, witness statements, and any police reports that may have been filed at the scene. In some cases, it is necessary to call in experts to help with this process.
When you are in a car accident, it is natural to feel angry or frustrated. However, it is important to avoid speaking to other drivers or their insurance companies at the scene. In some cases, other parties will keep insisting that the accident was your fault to try to intimidate or pressure you into admitting guilt.
Admitting fault at the scene can have serious consequences for your case. It can harm your ability to get the medical treatment and compensation you need for your injuries and losses. It can also impact your future claim for damages from the at-fault party.
Your attorney can provide helpful advice about what to do at the accident scene. In general, it is important to remain calm and not speak to any other parties until you have been contacted by law enforcement or medical professionals. It is also a good idea to seek out any neutral witnesses at the scene of the accident who could be helpful. These witnesses can be crucial to determining fault.
Keeping track of your medical treatments and related expenses is another way you can show that you are not at fault for the crash. Having records of visits to doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, and other healthcare providers can make your case that you have been severely injured. Keeping a record of your expenses and the items you need to pay for them can help demonstrate your financial hardship caused by the crash.
If you are not at fault for a car accident, your insurance company can reimburse you for the cost of your injuries and other related costs. However, if you are found to be at fault for the crash, your liability insurance may cover only a percentage of your losses. In Texas, for example, you cannot recoup your expenses if you are more than 51 percent at fault. If you believe you are at fault for a crash, it is important to retain an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible.