December 12, 2021

How Fault Is Determined After a Car Accident

Car accidents are prevalent nowadays due to the number of vehicles on the road. Most of the accidents that occur daily happen because one or both parties were breaking or not paying attention to the traffic laws while driving or crossing the road.

The state the accident occurs in determines the compensation process, the amount of settlement you could be eligible for, and if you are eligible at all. According to professional Orange County car accident attorneys, car accident cases are not always straightforward. Individuals without prior knowledge of the law can find it difficult to get the compensation they deserve.

Parties That Can Help Determine Fault After a Car Accident

1. The Drivers Decide

In some instances are easy to determine who was at fault when one party accepts all blame. There may also be a lot of witnesses who can clearly explain the person at fault. In this case, both drivers will agree on who was at fault, which can be easy for the case.

However, regardless of who accepts fault, it’s crucial to have a car accident lawyer speak on your behalf to protect yourself. Yes, you might be at fault, but that doesn’t mean you make a full confession. Wait for a full investigation because prior unknown facts might be discovered, and other parties could also be assigned fault.

2. The Police Decides

After a car accident occurs, the police should be notified promptly to assess the situation and write a police report. Their job involves talking to the drivers, other victims, and the witnesses to the accident to determine what happened before, during, and after the accident happened. Sometimes, people’s actions after the accident can help them determine fault, e.g., if a driver flees the accident scene, they might have something to hide.

Their report contains their assessment and assigns fault based on their professional deductions. However, their report doesn’t mean the person the police assigned fault to is legally responsible for the accident. Their report contains an assessment and assigns fault based on their professional deductions. However, this doesn’t mean that the person the police determined is at fault is legally responsible for the accident. Having access to the official police report can be critical if you want to file an insurance claim or take your case to court. If the accident happened in Missouri, you can later access the MO police incident report online by entering some of the incident’s basic information, such as the date, ZIP code, and the car’s VIN.  A police officer’s police report and citations are considered evidence that a lawyer can use to prove negligence.

3. Insurance Companies Decide

A victim in a car accident needs to contact their insurance company immediately. Once a claim is filed, the company will immediately assign one or more insurance adjusters to investigate and handle the settlement.

They assess the scene either physically or through photos, contact witnesses, get statements, check the damaged vehicle, and confirm each driver’s insurance policy. They write a report and assign fault based on their expertise. It is also not a final assignment of blame but can be used as evidence favoring one of the drivers.

4. The Court Decides

When there is still no resolution as to who is at fault after the car accident, the case is moved to court, where a jury and a judge decide who is at fault. They will listen to the case presented on behalf of both parties and look at the evidence provided. Here, the burden of proof lies with each side as they are required to show a preponderance of evidence in support of their claims.

Although the police or insurance companies don’t necessarily determine who is at fault, their professional assessment is used extensively by the court to determine fault. The court will use the law and judgment from previous cases to determine fault.

Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer Today

As we have discussed, the fault isn’t always straight forward, even if you know that you are the one at fault. Allow a professional to represent your best interest while you focus on getting back to normal life.

About the author 

Peter Hatch

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