It can be a difficult and frustrating process to dispute fault in a car accident. There are many things that you need to know about the law and negotiation tactics before you take on this task yourself. This blog post will introduce you to some of the most important elements involved with proving your own fault, as well as how personal injury lawyers negotiate who is at fault when it comes down to it.
The first thing to understand about a car accident is that there are two different types of fault- the comparative and contributory. Comparative means an injury was caused by another driver, but the person who suffered it can't be sure which driver did what wrong. Contributory means one party's negligence contributed in part or whole to their own injuries. Each state has its own laws for how these should be handled; some states make both drivers responsible for compensating all costs while others only contribute towards half of them. You will need your personal injury lawyer's help when you go through this process so they can represent you properly before insurance companies and other parties involved with the claim.
When you're recovering from a car accident, it can be hard to know who was at fault and even harder to prove the other driver was at fault, especially if the driver's insurance company has already provided an adjuster to the scene of the accident. You don't want to put yourself in an awkward position by admitting someone else caused your injuries and then find out the other party doesn't have any money or an insurance company. To avoid this problem, there are four main things you should do:
Call the police to report the accident; your police report can actually be used as evidence in proving fault for the accident. If the other driver was at fault, the police report will provide some level of evidence as to what happened at the scene of the accident.
Find witnesses; make sure they saw everything that happened before and during the crash so they can provide their own testimony if necessary. Make sure you also get contact info for them just in case anything changes after the incident occurred.
Take pictures of every aspect of the scene as soon as possible including where all vehicles were parked and what damage, if any, is visible on each vehicle involved in the accident.
Get your car fixed before you talk to an insurance company or a police officer. This will make it easier and cheaper for the other party's insurer to do their job because they'll have access to all relevant information about the accident.
Contacting an attorney is always helpful as well! They can help you protect yourself after something like this happens, especially if there are unanswered questions that need more attention from experts in this area of law. They will also review the accident claim and look for discrepancies that pin the fault in a car accident on the other driver. They can also handle speaking with the other driver's insurance company when it comes time to dispute fault.
The insurance adjuster will determine fault by looking at the available evidence. They might also interview witnesses and parties involved, but they won't know for sure who is to blame until a car accident investigation team has completed their review of what happened. The insurance company will use this data to make an educated guess about whether one or more drivers was negligent (i.e., not operating in a safe manner). If it's clear that you are at-fault for the accident due to negligence, then your insurer may pay out damages and costs from its own pocket while hoping you'll turn around afterwards and sue the other driver's insurer as well!
If there isn't enough information on hand -- say because the police didn’t show up right after the car accident or no one took pictures of the damage to cars, etc. -- there's a chance that insurance companies won't have enough evidence to determine fault and may deny coverage for those involved in the car accident or compel one of the drivers (the at-fault driver) to pay more money as their share of the damages.
It is important not just who was at fault but how much each person should contribute to repairs, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering; it could help make sense of what happened in the car accident by understanding where responsibility lies.
A third party like your personal injury lawyer can negotiate on behalf of you and other parties if necessary because they do not have any vested interest with either car insurance company so they will be able to work hard for you without worrying about the other side of the story. Their sole focus will be on how to dispute fault in a car accident and prove the other person was the at-fault driver.
The first step is to write a demand letter. Make sure that the letter is clear about what you want and in writing your demands, be as specific as possible on why you believe fault should not lie with you.
Include information such as where the accident happened, how it occurred (e.g., by being rear-ended) and who was involved if known at this time so far - describe any witnesses or police reports pertaining to the incident . Be ready for questions from an insurer's representative when they reply back; keep copies of all correspondence between yourself and other drivers/insurance company going forward just in case anything needs to be referenced later on. Keep records of medical expenses, wage loss, vehicle damages, and anything else that places a monetary value on the car accident. These will all be used by your personal injury lawyer in their pain and suffering calculation.
In order for their attorneys to help negotiate a fair compensation amount that reflects reality, they need information about what happened during the incident . In some cases there may also be independent investigators from outside insurance companies who have experience investigating car accidents as well - these can sometimes provide valuable evidence such as photos or GPS data taken at the scene that could prove invaluable down the line so it would always be beneficial to call a personal injury lawyer immediately.
This is an important question that many drivers ask themselves after they have been involved in a car accident. The answer to this is yes and no, but let's take a closer look at what it means for both parties.
-No: if the other driver was strictly negligent - meaning reckless or careless actions from their own end were responsible for the crash (quite common) then there may not be any money left over with which to compensate you . This would apply even if your injuries are very serious as well, because when someone else has caused the collision through their behavior, nothing will remain of the case when all damages such as medical expenses or lost wages are calculated by attorneys on either side.
-Yes: If another person was found to be partially liable for the crash (such as a driver who failed to yield or ran a stop sign) then there will be some communication between attorneys and an agreement can often be reached with which you are compensated.
The first step in resolving these issues is always speaking with an attorney on either side of your car accident so that it's possible to determine how much responsibility lies on each party. From here you'll have more information about what kind of settlement negotiation to pursue and if you really have any chance at collecting compensation for the car accident.