From a practical standpoint, it is often the insurance companies who determine fault following an auto crash. This is the case as most car accidents are settled out of court. For cases that do actually reach a trial, it is the jury, or sometimes the judge, who determines fault.
Regardless of who makes the determination, police reports, witness statements, and other essential evidence are key elements in assigning fault in a motor vehicle accident. Additionally, depending on where your accident occurred, CCTV footage of the accident may have been recorded and may still be available. Such footage can be extremely helpful in proving the negligence of the driver who hit you.
At the scene, all of the parties may be interrogated by the police as to how the collision occurred and what circumstances prevailed at the accident scene. This is done to gather a collective narrative about the accident scene. This report will also be helpful in retroactively analyzing whose negligence or recklessness caused the accident. This will be beneficial for the injured party as they may gain information as to whether they can pursue compensation and, if so, against whom.
What is the process of determining fault in an auto accident?
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), it is vital to have financial coverage when in an automobile accident. The study further stated that 79% of insured drivers have comprehensive insurance policies, while 75% also purchase collision policies.
The process of determining the fault in an auto accident is not an easy task. This is why the law requires every party involved in a collision to participate and cooperate in the investigation. Parties need to narrate their side by providing the insurance company, and when necessary their attorneys, with relevant information about what happened and how the accident occurred. Witness statements can also play an essential role in evaluating who was at fault as they can often provide a neutral account.
After the insurance adjusters get involved, they will generally conduct their own investigation. Many insurance adjusters will make every effort to deny your coverage, looking for mistakes or loopholes in your case. Some insurance companies are more concerned with making profits than they are with providing you with a fair car accident settlement. With an attorney on your side, you will better be able to show your damages and receive fully adequate compensation.
What happens in a multi-car accident?
If you are involved in a multi-car accident, fault and liability will be based on every party’s perspective and damages. The ultimate amount any party may receive will be based on vehicle damages, the severity of the injuries caused, and the medical expenses required for treatment, in addition to each party’s degree of fault.
The percentage of fault can even make the case complicated. Furthermore, the details of each party’s insurance policy may dictate what that company will or will not cover in the case of a multi-car accident. .
Sometimes, there may be a situation in which the fault is unclear. In those circumstances, it is essential to involve the witnesses, if any, or the CCTV footage of the site where the incident happened. Personal injury cases can be complex and a thorough understanding of the laws is essential. Sometimes, however, knowledge alone is not enough. You need a lawyer who can negotiate an adequate settlement regardless of the insurance company’s offer.
The police report can also be helpful in proving fault. Likewise, any extant photographic evidence can be helpful proof. There might be physical evidence such as any mark on the vehicle involved in the accident, injuries caused, and dent or paint marks on the vehicle. This will help to determine who is responsible for the accident.
What happens in a fault and no-fault state?
The state where the accident happened and where you reside plays a primary role in determining how the insurance company will act. The laws of the state where the accident occurred will generally govern the situation. In a no-fault auto insurance state, each party’s insurance company will cover their own medical expenses and damages.
However, in a no-fault state, the party who is responsible for the accident, and their insurance company, may be financially liable for paying for the damages and injuries of all parties.
Some states recognize contributory negligence, where a party with any fault for the accident, is barred from recovering compensation. In comparative negligence states, the degree of fault of each party will impact the amount of compensation awarded. Here each party will be assigned a degree of fault and his or her eventual damage award may be reduced by that amount.
Some states mandate personal injury protection (PIP) insurance or other motorist coverage. PIP policies cover all necessary medical expenses related to an accident.
If an insurance company provides you with a low settlement amount, don’t accept it without first talking to someone you trust. Consult an experienced Philadelphia Auto Accident Lawyer that will help you get the compensation you deserve.