Accidents don’t occur on purpose, which means everyone is shocked when one does occur. It’s dangerous to assume anything about an accident, but it’s fairly safe to assume no one expects to be involved in one when they leave the house. Cars are among the most dangerous methods of travel, and shock following an accident is not uncommon. This shock makes the following days confusing. You know you need medical attention, but you might decline this. You might be so injured you can’t even think straight for a few days. You might have so much on your mind following an accident you aren’t sure what to do. Do you call an attorney or your insurance company? Do you ask the police who arrive on scene what to do next? Who is to blame? You know the person who is at-fault should be blamed for the accident, but how are the police and the insurance agents going to determine who is to blame for the accident that changed your life?
How Fault is Determined
How fault is determined is based largely on where you live and the laws in your state. Car insurance companies must find someone to blame for the accident because that’s how it works. In many instance, there are two people at fault. If it can be proven that one person was breaking the law while driving and hit someone else doing the same thing, both drivers can be placed equally at fault. For example, if a driver in one car failed to stop at a four-way stop and hit another driver who also failed to stop at the four-way stop, both drivers are considered to blame for the accident.
In no-fault states, this is less important. In states where fault is placed on a driver, it can help determine which insurance company is going to handle the payout, repairs, and other financial distress caused to those involved in the accident. Determining who is to blame for an accident is not always easy, but sometimes it’s very simple. Some drivers readily admit they did something wrong and it’s included in the accident report on the scene. Other drivers aren’t willing to make that kind of admission, and an investigation might occur.
Most accident scenes tell the tale of the accident without any of the drivers even speaking to police. It’s easy to determine based on the position and damage of the cars involved, and witness statements are used to iron out the specifics to determine who is at-fault in an accident. If you’re not satisfied with the results of the investigation, you might consider hiring an attorney to perform an investigation to determine who is at-fault.
The police will gather evidence or the investigating parties will do this. This could happen on the scene or by reconstructing the scene using photos and other evidence collected when officer responds to the accident. This evidence is then put into writing and turned into an accident report. If any party feels the information in the accident report is incorrect, they have the chance to say so and ask for it to be investigated again by an attorney. This is never final information if it’s challenged.
The most important thing you’ll do is avoid admitting you were to blame for the accident when you are on the scene. This is something many accident victims fail to realize, often admitting to their own responsibility in the accident to others. Just because you assume you are to blame does not mean you are to blame. You might think you did something wrong, but it was the other driver that made the mistakes. An accident attorney will advise you to never admit fault, apologize to the other driver, or do anything of that nature without first discussing the instance with the attorney.
If you are partially to blame or even fully to blame for the accident, you will be responsible for letting your insurance company know and take the blame for the accident. Before you panic, know this doesn’t automatically mean your rates will rise or you will have some sort of increase in your payment. There are many instances in which your insurance company will take your past driving history into account and use that to determine whether your rates will rise.
If you have any questions about this or your accident, call an attorney. You should speak to one if you plan on contesting your responsibility in the accident. It could be the difference you are looking for when it comes to your insurance rates and seeking damages for your injuries. If you are not at-fault and want to seek damages, it’s a good idea to seek the help of legal counsel.