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How To Determine Fault in a Car Accident

Car Accident Lawyer

Whenever someone is injured in a car accident, the determination of who is at fault plays a large role in which party or parties are held responsible for the damages. Multiple factors are considered when determining fault.

The most important thing to know in the event of a car accident is who was at fault. If you were not at fault, hiring an attorney can help you recover damages such as medical bills and lost wages. The best way to find out who\’s responsible for your injury is by consulting with a car accident lawyer that will provide their expertise in determining liability and they will ensure that all of your rights are protected.

Insurance Company Investigations

The insurance companies that insure the drivers or the owners of the vehicles involved in a crash usually investigate to determine who is at fault. Insurance companies that provide liability coverage are contractually obligated to pay for damages the insured person is legally required to pay due to a car accident, up to the limits of the policy. Therefore, insurance companies base their decisions about who is at fault on the laws of the state where the accident occurred.

The best way to protect yourself after an auto accident is to hire a car accident lawyer from John K. Zaid & Associates who will determine fault on your behalf so you don\’t have to worry about it.

No-Fault Accidents

16 states have no-fault insurance laws. These states require drivers to carry personal injury protection insurance and their own PIP coverages pay for their damages, regardless of who is at fault. However, property damage claims in these states are still paid on an at-fault basis.

At-Fault Accidents

In states with at-fault insurance laws, the at-fault driver is usually responsible for injuries caused to the other party, based on the negligence laws in the state. The insurance companies will examine the evidence, such as witness testimony, photos of the scene, damage on the vehicles and the accident report to determine which driver they think is at fault and to what extent. The companies then assign a percentage of fault to each driver. If the insurance companies disagree about the share of blame assigned to each driver, they may negotiate a compromise.

Comparative vs. Contributory Negligence

If your accident occurred in Alabama, D.C., Maryland, North Carolina, South Dakota or Virginia, contributory negligence will be applied. This standard bars any party with any share of fault for an accident from recovering damages from the other party.

The rest of the states apply comparative or modified comparative negligence. In a comparative negligence state, each party must pay the share of damages that corresponds with their at-fault percentage. In a modified comparative state, a driver who is found to be either 50% or 49%, depending on the state, or less at fault may recover the share of their damages caused by the other party.

Some accidents, such as rear-end accidents, are usually straightforward when it comes to determining who is at fault. However, some accidents are more complex and disputes with the insurance company may arise. If you disagree with the insurance company about the amount of fault assigned to you in a car accident, contact a car accident lawyer in your area for assistance.