Personal Injury Lawyer
Determining who is at fault for a car accident isn’t always a straightforward matter. Sometimes more than one party is to blame. If you were injured in a car accident, you should know that it is not your responsibility to determine who is at fault. That responsibility typically falls to the insurance adjusters and/or the police. You should also know that it is not in your interest to admit fault for the accident, even if you believe that you may have been partially to blame. If you do so, insurance adjusters will typically take you at your word rather than conducting an in-depth investigation.
How Is Fault Determined?
Even if you believe that you may be partially at fault for a car accident, your perception is limited. As a participant in the crash, you cannot help but perceive it subjectively. Those responsible for investigating a crash will obtain information from objective sources.
- Eyewitness Accounts
Police will likely question anyone in the vicinity who witnessed the accident, asking them to describe what they saw.
- Accident Reports
It is important to summon the police to the scene of the accident. They will write up an accident report, from which the insurance adjuster will draw most of the required information.
- Photos and Videos
Pictures of the crash may bring information to light that cannot be discovered from questioning witnesses or those involved in the crash. You can potentially help your case by taking photographs of the scene. Police and insurance adjusters may take pictures for their own purposes as well.
What Happens if You Are Partially at Fault?
In this instance, what happens next depends largely upon your jurisdiction. Most states will still allow you to recover some damages even if the accident is partially your fault. It will merely reduce the amount that you would stand to recover otherwise by the percentage of your fault for the accident.
That being said, the laws of some states will make it difficult, if not in impossible, for you to collect damages if you bear more than 50% of the blame for the accident. A few states have very strict comparative negligence laws that will prevent you from collecting damages if you bear any responsibility for the accident at all. However, this is the exception rather than the rule.
You should consult a car accident lawyer after an accident as soon as possible for advice on what to say and how to conduct yourself in the aftermath. Call a law office for more information.