Determining Fault In A Car Accident

When determining the party that is at fault in a car accident, the responsibility is generally placed on the insurance companies.  In some instances, the fault is quite obvious, such as in a rear-end collision where one driver strikes another.  However, more often than not, the fault is not so clear as to be cut and dried, which can make the determination a complex one.  The insurance company will assess any property damage along with bodily injuries that may have been sustained and determine who is at fault.

Determining Fault – The Process

Several factors go into how an insurance company determines fault in an accident, which can often make it somewhat challenging to decide.  Each party involved in the accident will be required to provide specific information, such as how the accident occurred and if there were any known witnesses or bystanders that may have seen the event.

Once the insurance company is contacted, they will begin the process of determining the party that may have caused the crash.  Once the insurance company has gathered the information and made a determination as to fault, one or more companies may step in and cover any expenses, such as treatment of any injuries, as well as the possible replacement of any vehicles involved.

The percentage of fault is added to the difficulty of determining fault in a car accident.  For instance, in some cases where it's determined that there was more than one driver deemed at fault, all parties involved may be held liable for the accident.  In instances such as this, one insurance company may pay 80% of the damages, while the other may pay the remaining 20%.

Unclear Fault

When the events surrounding an accident appear unclear as to which part is at fault, the presence of witnesses can come into significant play.  When the driver or drivers involved in an accident are unwilling to admit fault, being able to interview an unbiased witness or bystander can offer substantial aid in the investigation process.  If there are multiple witnesses or bystanders, and they can agree on what they saw happen, the case for who is at fault will be simpler to determine.

The process of interviewing witnesses often plays a crucial role when involving a car accident. Their contact information and their statement as to why they believe one driver over the other is at fault can impact the case significantly.  The evidence and the witness statement are the two main areas of determining fault in an auto accident.

If the individual at fault is still unclear, then any traffic cameras that recorded the accident may come into play.  By reviewing any recorded footage, the question of those at fault can often be quickly determined and placed.

Fault Vs. No-Fault

When it comes to the process that an insurance company uses in determining fault, the state you live in could play a significant role.  For instance, in 12 of the 50 states in the United States, the states are considered no-fault states.  Each party's insurance company in these states will cover their policyholders for any injuries or damages sustained.  On the other hand, in thoses tates that are considered as at-fault states, the party that has been deemed at fault for the accident is held financially responsible for any injuries and damages from the accident.  There are those few states that are contributory negligence states, that state is you are deemed even slightly at fault you are not able to recover any compensation or losses, and comparative fault states where the amount you are compensated is reduced by the degree of fault that has been determined that you carry for the accident.

The takeaway is that the insurance companies make the final decision applying fault in a car accident. There is always the option for one party to take the other to court to sue for compensation.  Still, the insurance company's determination, along with the evidence they compiled to make their decision, will also be submitted for the trial. The information could work for the defendant, or against them, or in the long run, make the whole trial becoming a futile effort.

The Bryant Law Firm has helped thousands of injury victims in the Greater Houston Area and all across Texas.  Let David A. Bryant,Jr. help you get the appropriate medical treatment and compensation you deserve

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