Understanding Fault in a Car Accident
You are driving along, observing all the traffic rules. Then, out of the blue, another car rams into you, damaging your vehicle and injuring you. You can easily conclude who is at fault in this case, but that is not how things work in the legal world. So, how is fault determined in a car accident?
Read on to learn how to determine fault in a car accident and how a personal injury attorney can help you file a personal injury claim after an auto accident.
What Does Fault Mean?
Fault refers to the party (person or driver) responsible or legally liable for physical injuries or property damages suffered in a car accident. Determining fault is the first step in ensuring the victims get fair compensation for the losses sustained in the accident.
There are two main types of car accidents:
No-fault Car Accident
A no-fault accident applies to states with no-fault insurance laws. These states require you to have personal injury protection (PIP) on your insurance policy. PIP covers your medical expenses following an auto accident, no matter who is at fault. However, if another driver damages your car, their insurance company may pay for the repairs.
At-fault Car Accident
At-fault car accidents apply to states without PIP insurance laws. The at-fault driver’s insurance helps pay for medical expenses and property damage. That means if another driver is at fault after hitting your car, their auto liability coverage will help pay for your car’s repairs.
Why Fault Is Essential
Fault in a car accident is essential because the person at fault is responsible for the injured person’s damages. You can potentially escape all financial liability for the accident if you can prove you were not at fault.
In some situations, several parties may be at fault for the accident. In such cases, each party will have to take care of the damages attributable to their actions, meaning it’s essential to determine each party’s level of fault.
How to Determine Fault in a Car Accident
Insurance companies determine fault by evaluating evidence and circumstances involved in the accident. Police reports are one of their primary sources of information.
If you inform the police about the incident, a law enforcement officer usually visits the scene and compiles a report on the accident. This report may include information on whether the other driver received a citation or which party the police believes to be at fault. The insurance adjuster and your personal injury lawyer will rely mainly on this piece of evidence to determine fault.
Other materials that insurance companies and personal injury attorneys use are statements from competent witnesses. Witnesses with clear and unbiased accounts of the incident can help determine fault by describing the events before, during, and after the accident.
Accident and personal injury cases can be overwhelming and cause emotional distress. If you’ve been in a car accident and aren’t sure how a determination of fault would affect you financially, seek legal advice from a reputable law firm. You can reach out to Erjavec Injury Law for legal counsel or a personal injury attorney by calling 941-907-1133. We’re ready to help you legally navigate this distressing situation.