If you were in a car accident, determining who is at fault may seem like the most important thing to figure out. How do insurance companies determine fault? How can they be sure it's accurate? How would this affect your claim? We'll answer these questions and more here!
The most important factor car accident insurance companies use in determining what actually happened is the police report. Individual claims from each party involved may conflict with other information or contain personal bias. This makes it very difficult for insurers to render judgments about fault, which could lead to lengthy court battles and expensive litigation if no agreement can be reached between all parties within a reasonable time frame.
The majority of U.S. states follow a fault-based system where the at-fault driver is usually responsible for repairs, expenses, and losses through their insurer’s liability coverage (in most cases). However, insurers usually determine fault via the state’s legal definition of negligence. How this affects the claim depends on the state, but in most cases, it means that if you were deemed at fault for an accident due to negligence (carelessness), then your insurer will likely not pay out any benefits.
Insurance companies typically use a three-step process to determine fault:
First, they review witness statements and police reports. Next, they determine the speed and position of each vehicle at impact. Finally, they compare their findings with state traffic laws to establish who was driving in a negligent manner (i.e., ignoring basic safety rules).
If you were involved in an accident that resulted in injuries or significant damage, then it's very important for your claim that you are not responsible for negligence. How can you prove that? First, submit your claim as soon as possible to avoid any problems with the statute of limitations in most states. Second, hire an attorney who will examine all evidence against you and make sure it's accurate—this includes witness accounts, police reports, etc. Third, cooperate fully with insurance investigators and provide all necessary documentation.
Finally, if your case goes to court, then you'll need an experienced attorney who can make sure that the evidence used against you is completely accurate.
We’re here to help. Contact us for more information, answers to questions you may have, and help moving forward with the process.