In every auto accident, there’s a responsible party. Determining fault involves finding out whose negligence caused the crash. In most instances, it’s easy to see who’s to blame—and that person will be responsible for the property damage, personal injury, and death they’ve caused.
However, determining who is at fault isn’t always so clear-cut. Multiple entities are involved in fault-finding, including insurance companies, courts, and law enforcement agencies. In this guide, readers will learn how fault is found after a car accident and where they can go for help after they are injured.
How Police Find Fault
Once an auto accident is reported, police will visit the scene and fill out a report. To make the report, the police will interview passengers, drivers, and witnesses, asking questions that help them determine how the accident happened. Once they have enough information, they will submit the report and potentially issue citations.
A police report may contain statements about fault, which are based on the officer’s professional opinion. That’s not always the case, though, and it’s important to keep in mind that an officer’s statement doesn’t mean a person will automatically be held liable for damages.
How Insurers Determine Fault For An Accident
After an accident, victims must file claims with their respective insurance companies. Once these claims are filed, adjusters are assigned. Insurance adjusters oversee accident investigations and claim settlements. In most cases, multiple adjusters are involved because each involved party must file an insurance claim. During the investigative process, the adjuster will:
- Research the event
- Interview witnesses
- Read medical reports
- Look at vehicle damage
- Verify insurance policy details
In the end, the adjusters will determine fault, which may involve assigning a percentage of responsibility to certain drivers. Then, the insurers will apportion costs based on these percentages. A personal injury attorney can protect your rights during the apportionment phase.
Insurance companies determine fault based on the state’s definition of personal negligence., and drivers are considered negligent if they don’t exercise the same level of care a reasonable person would in similar circumstances.
How The Courts Determine Fault
After an auto accident, a victim may file a claim to recover for their losses and injuries. If a person files a claim after an event, the state’s court will decide who is at fault by considering the defendant’s negligence.
During a case, a court may consider arguments from each side’s legal team. Evidence such as driver, officer, and witness testimony may be presented, as well as that from accident reconstruction teams and doctors.
Either a jury or a judge, depending on the state, will determine whether a driver has been negligent and must compensate a victim for their losses and injuries. It’s crucial to remember, though, that various rules govern the determination of fault for auto accidents, including precedent from previous cases in the area where a case is heard.
Do You Still Have Concerns About Auto Accident Fault?
Auto accidents are frightening and overwhelming experiences. Dealing with lawsuits, insurers, and law enforcement agencies can be time-consuming and challenging.
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident and think you may be partially responsible, an experienced auto accident attorney may be able to help protect your rights and achieve a fair outcome. Call or click today to schedule a no-obligation consultation with an injury attorney.