Have you recently suffered from an injury due to an auto-related accident? Do you have the feeling that you were the cause of the accident?
If so, then it is important for you to understand how at-fault accidents work. These accidents can occur due to a variety of intentional and non-intentional actions on your end.
Those who feel responsible for a car accident will need to collect as much information about the incident as possible. This data must be sent to the right professionals to determine who is liable for the expenses.
With our knowledge of laws involving car accidents, you can find peace in your involvement of the accident and move on to safer and smarter driving experiences.
Here is everything you need to know about at-fault accidents, how to find who’s at fault, and what to do if it’s you.
Fault vs. No-Fault States
The first factor you have to consider when determining the responsibility of at-fault car accidents is where the crash took place. Whether or not the accident took place in a “fault” or “no-fault” state can help you get an answer.
In fault states, the insurer of the person who caused the car accident must take care of the expenses resulting from the incident after the investigation. This includes medical bills, vehicle damage, lost wages, and any pain and suffering that the victims have been experiencing since the accident.
Non-fault states require car owners to have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) to cover these expenses. This means that all parties involved must handle their own costs, no matter who caused the accident.
Step 1. Check for Injuries
Before everyone starts pointing blame for a crash, you need to make sure that no one is seriously hurt. Check on yourself and anyone that might be in your car for injuries.
Afterward, call 911 to seek medical attention immediately, no matter how serious the injuries are. This can help you determine later on if you suffered internal injuries if you don’t suffer cuts, bruises, or broken bones.
If you didn’t suffer injuries that hinder your ability to move, check on the other people involved in the accident. Keep yourself, other passengers and drivers, and the cars off the road to prevent further injuries from oncoming cars.
Step 2. Collect Evidence
The next step in determining an at-fault collision is collecting evidence that shows who caused the crash. Take photographs and record videos of the vehicle damage for everyone involved.
Showing the damage to the authorities will help them figure out who’s at fault. It may help to include footage of any property damage in the area of the crash, or if multiple vehicles were involved.
We also recommend collecting photos and videos of injuries that you or anyone else may have suffered. The evidence will ensure that no one can get away with changing the story.
Step 3. Talk to Witnesses
One form of evidence that can help determine the at-fault driver of your accident is the word of other people. While you’re waiting for the authorities to arrive, get reports from people in the area who saw the accident.
You can video your interview with witnesses to show the police who question the validity of your statements. This can help counter false statements that other people involved in the accident might make later on.
If there were no witnesses to the accident, then insurance companies and lawyers will most likely determine fault based on your driving history. They can look at records of previous accidents or penalties and may side with the person with the cleaner record.
Step 4. Exchange Information
Whether or not you know you caused the accident, you need to share information with everyone involved. Make sure to write down and provide names, phone numbers, insurance carriers, and insurance policy numbers.
We also recommend writing down when and where the accident took place to make it easier for the authorities to determine responsibility. Don’t forget to include the types of vehicles involved.
Step 5. Report to Your Insurance Company
When it comes to a car accident, whose fault it is can be determined by insurance companies of the parties involved. Report your accident to your agent to figure out any penalties that you might have to pay.
Make sure to have all of the evidence you collected when you meet with your insurance agent. Whether or not the evidence shows your innocence can affect your carrier’s ability to find costs on your end for everyone’s recovery.
The individuals who will be tasked with determining who is responsible for an at-fault accident include the insurance companies and adjusters of those involved. These individuals will study the evidence and communicate with each other to establish who pays for what damages.
The degree of fault will depend on the situation. For example, you may have tried to take an exit on a highway while the other driver merged in the same lane. This can lead to both of you being held responsible and paying for the damage.
State laws may also affect if or how much you have to pay. Some states will require drivers to pay 100 percent of the damage even if they are determined to be just 51 percent responsible for the crash.
Other states, however, go by a particular percentage based on how negligence and other poor driving decisions. For example, if both drivers made mistakes but one had a stronger influence, there could be a specific split of responsibility, such as 70 percent for one driver and 30 percent for the other.
Some cases may end with a 50-50 split of responsibility if there is a lack of evidence. If neither party has footage or eye-witness testimonies from the accident, the insurance companies might have both parties pay for damages.
Our Take on At-Fault Accidents
If you are responsible for an at-fault accident, then you need to have as much evidence as possible of the situation. This includes the actions of both drivers and the damage or injuries that both parties may have suffered.
Make sure that your insurance agent explains the details of your policy so that you know what you can need to pay when the accident is your fault. When you and your agent have more data, you can figure out if the other driver is partially responsible.
Owning up to your accident can show courts your ability to take responsibility, which can help your record later on.
With this guide, you can move on from an at-fault accident physically and financially.
For more of our vehicle accident expertise, check out our services today to make a proper recovery from an accident.