There is an average of six million car accidents every year in the United States. The sad truth is that car accidents happen all the time on all kinds of streets to all kinds of drivers. But by knowing the answer to “how is fault determined in a car accident?”, you can be more prepared for any issues that arise should you end up in a car accident.
Are you interested in learning more? If you are, then keep on reading and we’ll take you through everything you need to know about determining fault in a car accident.
How Police Determine Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident
After a car accident is reported to the police, the police officers will be responsible for preparing a police report about what took place. A police officer will interview all of the drivers involved as well as any witnesses about the car accident. They’ll ask a variety of questions meant to put together an accurate retelling of what transpired.
After the police officer has decided that they have enough information, they’ll submit their report to their department. That report might contain a statement about who was at fault for the car accident based on the officer’s judgment.
However, there are many police reports that don’t include a determination of fault. It’s also worth pointing out that even if a police report states who was responsible for the auto accident. That doesn’t automatically mean that person is going to be held legally responsible for damages.
Sometimes, an officer will issue a traffic citation during their investigation. This citation can be used as evidence that the driver was negligent in a later lawsuit.
How Insurance Companies Determine Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident
After filing a claim with an insurance company, the company will assign the claim to an adjuster. That person will oversee the investigation into the incident. As well as, the settlement of the insurance claim.
Usually, there’s more than one adjustor involved in this process. That’s because each driver’s insurance company is going to want to choose an adjustor to look into the auto accident.
Adjustors research the auto accident, look at medical records, talk with witnesses, and examine damage to the vehicles. They will also verify the insurance policy details of the drivers involved.
In the end, the adjustor will determine who was at fault in the accident. Sometimes, they’ll even assign a percentage of fault to each driver.
From there, the insurance companies will apportion the costs of the auto accident based on that percentage. They will also compensate the drivers involved according to the terms of their insurance policies.
Usually, an insurance company will determine fault based on the legal definition of negligence in the state where the accident took place. A person who is negligent fails to exercise the amount of caution that a reasonable person would under those same circumstances.
For example, if a driver runs a red light. And, hits a car that was legally passing through an intersection, then that driver will likely be found negligent and at fault for the accident.
How Courts Determine Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident
If you were to file a lawsuit after getting into an auto accident, a court is going to decide who was at fault. They will accomplish this by considering if the defendant was negligent.
In order to decide your case, a court is going to consider arguments from the parties’ lawyers. They’ll also look at various evidence presented by those lawyers. This evidence can include testimony from:
- accident reconstruction professionals
- police officers who investigated the accident
- people who witnessed the accident
- drivers involved in the car accident
Either a jury or a judge will determine whether the other driver was negligent. They’ll also decide if the defendant has to pay you money in order to compensate you for damages.
It’s worth noting that police reports and determinations made by insurance companies won’t control the outcome of a court case. For one thing, certain evidence might be prevented from being introduced during trial, such as police reports. Also, different rules govern the legal determination of responsibility for a car accident.
You should also remember that evidence of a traffic citation or violation can persuade a court that the violating party was negligent and at fault for the accident. This is a concept known as negligence per se and it can be quite useful to your case if you were injured by a driver who violated traffic rules.
The Importance of Knowing How Is Fault Determined
A car accident can be a traumatizing, confusing, and overwhelming experience. Dealing with insurance companies, police officers, and the possibility of a lawsuit can be scary and difficult. If you were injured in a car accident and are worried about whether or not you were at fault, then an experienced car accident attorney can help you.
However, a reliable attorney can do more than provide you with useful legal advice. They can also make sure that your rights are protected, and that you don’t give statements that will be used against you. As well as, that you receive the compensation that you deserve.
Hopefully, after reading the above article, you now have a better idea of how is fault determined in a car accident. And, how different parties can come to different conclusions.
Were you recently in a car accident and looking for help? If so, then contact us today and see what we can do for you!
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