What Happens If I Am At Fault For A Car Accident
Car Accident FAQ
The chances of being in an accident on U.S. roadways is a primary concern for drivers as traffic grows increasingly congested year over year. While getting into an accident is difficult enough, being at fault is highly stressful for drivers. It is essential to know that numerous factors often complicate fault determinations in accidents, and it is necessary to have a thorough review of the facts by a competent investigator.
If you are in a car accident where you are at fault, consulting with an attorney is essential to see where you stand. There could be extenuating circumstances where another party shares liability in the crash. At Big Auto, our experienced attorneys carefully examine the accident evidence to uncover all the details and protect your rights.
With accidents, insurance claims are handled differently depending on your state. States follow these two types of insurance designations:
- At fault: An individual at fault in the accident is liable for the damages to other persons injured in the accident.
- No fault: Individuals injured in an accident are covered by their insurance policies. In many cases, no-fault insurance states offer Personal Injury Protection that covers a range of costs following an accident.
Most states follow the at-fault insurance structure, where one party assumes liability for an accident, and the other party files a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance.
Most claims are settled out of court. A skilled attorney is practiced at handling the complexities involved in these deliberations. The award amount should be based on verifiable facts if you need to pay damages.
Insurance companies can be ruthless when it comes to the car accident claims process and try to push the blame on you. An insurer is not worried whether your rights are trampled on in the negotiation process. Your attorney sees to it that your voice is heard and that the facts are established before liability is assumed.
When a person files a claim with your insurance company for damages, it typically covers these losses:
- Property damage
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
If your insurance coverage is adequate, these expenses should be covered by your policy. However, severe injuries to another person can exceed your coverage limits. An injured person has the right to seek additional damages by filing a personal injury lawsuit.
It is always a good plan to have an attorney represent you when someone is seriously harmed. Having an attorney help negotiate a settlement is one of the most important decisions you make after an at-fault accident.
If you are at fault in an accident, having an attorney is not always necessary. There are situations where the facts of a claim are understood, and you may want your insurance company to settle the matter. Once the settlement is done, you will likely see an increase in your insurance rates, but the claim is finished if the other party agrees to the settlement terms.
However, you could be hurt in an accident where another party bears partial liability. In this case, it is critically important to have an attorney to help determine the extent of another party’s liability. There may be cause to file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf to make a damage recovery.
There are circumstances in personal injury cases where you are partially liable in an accident but can still file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages. Each state follows a system for considering fault. It depends on the state’s chosen system as to whether or not you can seek damages.
The apportionment of fault can be a tricky issue, made even more complex by the number of parties involved in an accident and the seriousness of the outcome. When fault is an abiding question, it is crucial to hire an attorney. Our firm is ready to handle your case and protect your right to recover. These are the fault systems used by individual states:
Modified Comparative Fault (50% Rule)
Modified comparative fault with the 50% rule allows persons to recover damages if they are less than 50% responsible for an accident. The amount you recover is determined by your degree of fault in an accident.
Modified Comparative Fault (51% Rule)
This system allows an individual less than 51% liable to recover damages in an accident. The amount of compensatory damages you are eligible to recover is based on your assigned percentage of fault in an accident.
Pure Comparative Negligence
States that follow the pure comparative negligence system assign all parties a portion of liability in a case. Damages are split using according to these percentages. There is no limit placed on your ability to seek a recovery. You can still sue for damages if you are as much as 99% at fault.
Pure Contributory Negligence
With pure contributory negligence, an individual must not bear any fault in an accident to seek damages in a personal injury case. With this system, a person who is 1% negligent could not seek damages from an individual who is 99% negligent.
If you are eligible to file a personal injury case, it is important to understand the legal bar is set high to prove your case. An attorney will guide you through the legal process. These are four areas that must be proved for your claim to have merit:
- Duty: You must show a defendant owed you a duty of care. This means a defendant had a responsibility to exercise reasonable care toward you that would be expected of another person in the same situation.
- Breach of Duty: You must show that a defendant’s actions breached the duty of care owed to you. The failure to exercise reasonable care led to your injury.
- Causation: You must show a defendant’s actions directly contributed to your injury. Damages may be reduced by your percentage of responsibility for your injuries.
- Damages: You must show that actual damages resulted from the defendant’s negligence. You have no legal right to a recovery if there is no injury.
According to the National Safety Council, 2,260,000 injuries (disabling and non-disabling) resulted from motor vehicle accidents in 2020. Your chances of being injured are considerable when a crash occurs. If you have a right to recovery, you only have so much time to file based on the statute of limitations. States typically allow two to three years to file a lawsuit for damages. If you fail to meet this deadline, you forfeit your chance to seek a recovery.
If you are at fault in an accident and suffer an injury, you may still have options to file for damages. Big Auto steps in to deal with insurance companies and ensures that a fault determination that affects your case is a just one.
While you may not need an attorney, consulting with one may still be a good idea. You don’t want to lose your right to recover damages by not realizing the full extent of your rights. Let us review your case and give you the peace of mind you deserve after an accident.
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