How to Determine Car Accident Fault: A Basic Guide

How to Determine Car Accident Fault

Did you know that 77 percent of drivers have been in at least one accident? Thus, if you drive, knowing what to do after a car accident is essential.

After ensuring that all drivers and passengers are safe, establishing car accident fault is a priority. Sometimes, determining who caused the accident is simple, such as when a driver fails to stop at a stop sign or traffic light. However, it isn’t always a straightforward process in some types of car accidents.

This post will help you determine who is at fault during an auto accident, so keep reading for some valuable info!

Why Car Accident Fault Matters

The driver at fault in an accident bears financial responsibility for any damages. This may include vehicle repairs or medical bills if there are auto accident injuries.

Usually, the person who causes the accident doesn’t pay out of pocket. Instead, their car insurance company covers these expenses.

Who Determines Causes of Car Accidents?

The drivers’ insurance companies often determine who caused the crash, using a claims adjuster to conduct an investigation.

They’ll interview drivers, passengers, and witnesses to the accident. Additionally, they’ll use evidence, such as:

  • Video surveillance footage
  • Police reports
  • Pictures
  • Vehicle repair estimates

Sometimes, the claims adjuster will also head out into the field for a more extensive investigation. They’ll review the accident site, check the vehicles’ damage, and examine other clues.

Understanding Complete and Shared Fault

When the claims adjuster has enough information, they’ll determine whether the accident is the cause of one driver or if both parties are responsible. Possible results include:

  • 100% at fault: One party’s insurance company covers all the damages
  • 51% or more at fault: Both parties pay for a portion of the damages equal to their percent of fault
  • 50/50 fault: Insurance companies split the costs, or each driver covers their expenses

Remember that the laws vary from state to state, so your insurance company may follow different proceedings when dealing with claims.

What Happens When Fault Cannot Be Determined?

Sometimes, insurance companies cannot determine fault, leaving involved parties with a couple of options.

Drivers commonly use arbitration to determine the percent of fault each party has. This option is much easier and less time-consuming because it doesn’t involve going to court.

Another option drivers have is using personal injury protection (PIP) to pay their medical bills. Yet, this is only possible in no-fault states, so check whether yours is on the list.

However, if one of the drivers or passengers has extensive injuries, they may hire a car accident lawyer to represent them and help them get compensation in court. The car accident attorney helps prove to a judge or jury that their client was not at fault and deserves a settlement.

Now You Understand Car Accident Fault

After reading this brief article, you should better understand car accident fault.

If you are in a car accident, take note of what happened, make a statement for the police report, and document your injuries or damages. Doing so can help you get compensation! Of course, if you need some help, hire an auto accident attorney.

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