Small Business Brief


How to Determine Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident

With six million car accidents annually in the U.S., it’s a miracle more people don’t know the ins and out of being in an accident. The truth is avoiding learning about the effects of a car accident is pretty desirable. 

At the scene of an accident, you have to worry about the immediate problems. Was anyone injured? Do they need medical attention? How badly damaged are the vehicles? 

You also have to talk to the police to figure out what has caused the accident to happen. Knowing who is at fault in a car accident will be important. Post-accident is when you’ll have to deal with the bills related to the accident and getting your car repaired. 

Read on to learn how you figure out who is at fault in a car accident. 

Fault Vs. No-Fault 

Depending on the state you live in, this is the first thing to consider. If you live in fault or “torte” state, the person who is responsible for the cause of the accident will be accountable for costs connected to the crash. 

Car accident injuries can significantly add to the cost and complications connected to an auto accident. If you are involved in a crash with injuries, it is best to get legal representation to protect your rights.

If you live in a no-fault state, it is a little bit more complicated. If you are involved in an accident in a no-fault state and are at fault, don’t assume you are off the hook. 

No-fault insurance means the insurance coverage of each driver is responsible for injuries. Then the insurance company of the person who is at fault covers property damage, including car repairs for any vehicles involved. 

Insurance Companies and Negligence

Once you are involved in an accident and your insurance company is notified, they want to determine who is at fault for the accident.

Sometimes there is an obvious culprit, and it’s easy to identify the driver who caused the accident. Other times it’s more complicated, and multiple drivers are at fault by degrees. 

Your insurance company will investigate and look at the police report to attempt to identify negligence. There are several different types of negligence to consider:

  • Comparative negligence allows you to seek compensation even if you are partially at fault for an accident. 

  • Modified comparative negligence prevents drivers from making claims with other drivers’ insurance companies if they have a certain percentage of fault from the accident.

  • Contributory negligence is a more definite form of negligence. You cannot seek damages or restitution from other insurance if you have any fault in the accident. 

Determining the person who caused an accident or the percentage of their fault becomes critical in these types of negligence claims. 

Determining Fault

Determining who is at fault in an accident can be easy and manifest in some cases. While in others, it can be quite complicated. Deciding who is at fault starts with the investigation by police at the scene of the accident. 

The police will question those involved and witnesses. They will survey evidence from the scene. In some cases, cameras are available to show a progression of events. 

Once the police do a report, then the insurance companies get involved. They will also use their investigators and adjusters to understand what happened at the scene of an accident. 

An insurance company’s goal is not to have to pay out money. This is where an attorney to represent you and your interests can be helpful and critical. 

Who is at Fault in a Car Accident

Being in a car accident is traumatic enough. Dealing with injuries and car repairs is not easy. Fighting about who is at fault in a car accident only makes the recovery process all the more challenging. 

Finding an attorney who knows how to stand up to the insurance company and is willing to fight to protect your interests is critical. 

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