How Fault is Determined for a Car Accident
One of the insurance company’s first objectives when a car accident claim is filed is to determine fault. With some accidents, such as when a driver hits a parked car, fault is fairly straightforward. However, in other cases, fault is arguable or unclear. When this occurs, there are several types of resources that can be used to investigate the accident and determine fault for a car accident.
Ways to Determine Car Accident Fault
When the insurance companies, lawyers, and courts attempt to determine fault for a car accident, there are a few resources they can use. First, they will take a look at the police report. The officer’s notes will provide insight into the causes of the accident and state whether either of the parties received a citation.
Other types of evidence used for determining fault are listed below.
- Photos of the accident scene and of the damage of the cars
- Video of the accident from traffic cams if available
- Eyewitness testimonies
In some instances, an accident reconstructionist may need to be called in to help. The accident reconstructionist can evaluate the accident, use specialized programs, and recreate what most likely occurred in order to gather insight into the causes of the crash. Reports and testimonies from these types of field experts can be very useful in proving fault or negligence.
The Implication of Fault for a Car Accident on a Claim
Distinguishing fault is a critical part of the claims process because it determines which party will be responsible for paying the damages. If party A is responsible for the accident, she will be liable for her own and for party B’s damages.
In many cases, both parties are partly at fault. In Florida, accident victims can recover damages from their accident minus their degree of fault. In other words, if a driver is 50 percent responsible for an accident with $1,000,000 in damages, his settlement will be reduced to $500,000.
Because fault directly affects the amount of compensation to which a victim is entitled, if you are filing a claim with considerable damages, get an attorney’s help to prove your claim.
Do Not Admit Fault for a Car Accident
Even if you think you might have been responsible for the accident, it’s important not to admit fault before speaking with an attorney. There might be elements of the crash of which you aren’t aware, and admitting fault or apologizing can inadvertently hurt your claim.
When at the scene of an accident and when speaking to witnesses or insurance adjusters, avoid saying anything that assigns the blame to yourself. Speak to an attorney for advice on how to best proceed with your claim.
Consult a Car Accident Attorney for Help with Your Claim
If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Florida, call Chalik & Chalik for a free consultation. We can investigate your case, determine fault for a car accident, negotiate with the insurance company, and help you proceed with your claim or lawsuit.