Who’s at Fault after an Accident?

Fault after an Accident

Resolving fault in an accident is vital for a variety of diverse reasons. When an automobile accident occurs, it is necessary for individuals and their insurance companies to identify the at-fault party. There could be a sizable amount of repair costs that the party at fault must pay, depending on the severity of the accident. For that reason, it is beneficial to determine who is at fault immediately following the accident.

The ideal time to conclude who is at fault is at the scene of the accident because there are often witnesses that can support in identifying the at-fault party. In states that permit distinguishing someone as accountable, this is often a highly complicated and heated debate.

Determining Fault

Because responsibility must be proven by evidence, the first step to determine who is at fault is to gather proof. The documentation can consist of eyewitness testimony, photos of the accident or police reports. Methods to determine fault include the following tips:

  • How: Frequently, fault does not need to be proven beyond any rational doubt, but rather it must be shown through transparent and credible evidence. The standard of proof is low, so assertions of fault do not have to be undeniable.
  • Fault patterns: In the majority of states, the person at the end of the car accident is held responsible for the entire accident. If multiple vehicles are involved, every car that hits another one from behind may be determined to have some liability for the accident.
  • Other methods. There are various methods for determining fault. However, if the event was not a rear-end accident, determining liability can be a little more difficult.

Your insurance company will take over at this point, determining who is at fault and evaluating damages. They will also assist in holding the party at fault responsible for the damage costs.

Your State’s Legal Definition of Negligence

  • In general, insurance companies define liability based on each state’s legal determination of negligence. Depending on your state, a few types of negligence may come into play:
  • Comparative negligence. A few states employ a stringent form of comparative negligence, which is your portion of fault compared to the other individual. This percentage enables you to seek compensation even if you’re deemed only partially liable.
  • Modified comparative negligence. Still other states utilize a diminished version of comparative negligence, which limits your eligibility to file a claim with another driver’s insurance company.
  • Contributory negligence. Classic contributory negligence is an all-or-nothing process of establishing liability and determining who is entitled to recover compensation. You would need to be 100 percent blameless.

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