The Ultimate Guide to Determining Car Accident Fault

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Every year in the United States, more than 6 million car accidents take place. These can result in serious injuries for the people involved, as well as damaging property. Because of this, a car accident can have huge financial consequences for anyone involved in it. 

Fortunately, it is possible to get compensation and remuneration for an accident with the help of a Brooklyn car accident lawyer. This won’t undo the damage caused but it will certainly help you on your road to recovery. 

However, in order to receive an insurance payout or successfully sue someone after an accident, you need to determine car accident fault. So what does this involve? Read on to find out everything you need to know about car accident fault and what to do after a car accident.

What is Car Accident Fault?

There is a whole range of different reasons why car accidents can take place. They might be the result of reckless driving, such as exceeding the speed limit, or due to a distraction on the road.

After an accident, it is important to try and determine what caused it. This will help you to determine who was at fault in the accident, which essentially means who is responsible for it. Determining fault is easier in some accidents than in others.

For example, 40% of car accidents in the US are caused by people driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In these cases, the person driving under the influence will almost always be the one at fault. 

Why Is It Important to Determine Fault?

If you want to make a claim or sue for compensation after an accident, you first need to determine who was at fault.

If another driver was at fault then this can save you from having to make a claim with your own insurer. Depending on where you live, an insurance company will only payout if you can demonstrate that their client was the responsible party. 

While insurance is a legal requirement for the majority of drivers in the US, the mandatory insurance clauses vary from state to state. However, if you can prove fault then you can still sue an individual after a car accident even if their insurance won’t cover the damages.

How to Determine Fault After an Accident

In order to determine fault after a car accident, you have to look closely at the events leading up to the accident itself. This can involve: 

  • Looking at video or photograph footage of the crash
  • Speaking to eyewitnesses about the crash
  • Checking the maintenance history of the cars involved
  • Looking at any highway maintenance in the area
  • Checking the police reports after the crash

This can provide a thorough picture of what happened leading up to and during a crash. Identifying factors that contributed to a crash then helps you spot who was responsible.

Determining the Degree of Fault

In some accidents, more than one party might be at fault. In this case, you have to determine the degree of fault within the accident. This essentially splits the fault between the responsible parties. 

When this happens, your insurance company may agree to pay a certain percentage of the damages. Then the other responsible parties will have to cover the rest. This may require a little negotiation depending on your insurance coverage. 

Splitting the Cost of Damages

Sometimes it can be very tricky to determine fault in a crash. If you are unable to agree or prove who is liable then you may end up splitting the cost of damages. 

Unlike determining the degree of fault, this splits the cost of damages directly down the middle. So if two people are involved in the crash then damages are split 50-50. Obviously, if more people are involved in a crash then this will be split between all of the responsible parties.

No-Fault States vs. Tort State Laws

It is important to note that determining fault and how this affects your compensation varies depending on where you live. This is because within the US there are no-fault states and tort states. 

In no-fault states, all drivers must use their own insurance policy to cover any medical expenses incurred by a crash. This happens regardless of who is at fault in the crash itself. The at-fault parties also have to use their insurance to cover any damage caused to property during a crash. 

In tort states, insurance companies will investigate each crash to find out who is at fault. The at-fault driver (or drivers) then have to cover the damages caused during a crash. This includes covering medical expenses for the parties involved.

The majority of US states are tort states. The following nine states that use no-fault coverage policies: 

  • Florida
  • Hawaii 
  • Utah
  • Massachusetts
  • Kansas
  • Michigan 
  • Minnesota
  • New York
  • North Dakota

In Kentucky, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, all drivers have the option of no-fault or tort insurance coverage. In the other nine states, no-fault policies are mandatory.

Get Help Today

As you can see, when it comes to determining car accident fault there are a lot of things to consider and this can be a long process. Gathering as much evidence as possible about your accident will help you prove fault. But you should be prepared for pushback from the other parties involved. 

This is why getting support from an experienced auto accident lawyer in Brooklyn is essential. They can handle everything from scratch to finish without introducing any complications. Insurance companies can way undercompensate without an attorney who can maximize your deserved claims sometimes as much by an additional 300-1,000%. If you want to sue after a car accident, get in touch today. We’re happy to help!

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