How Does Car Insurance Decide Who Is at Fault?
Car accidents are complicated. For the victims, or the parties to an accident, it can also feel completely overwhelming. When you’re dealing with medical bills, injuries, and lost income, it can be difficult to even think about anything else.
Fortunately, filing a car accident claim against the other party could give you the chance to recover your losses in either a financial settlement or a jury award. In order to get paid, however, the insurance company needs to make a decision about fault. So, how does car insurance decide who is at fault in a car accident? Read on to find out.
The Role of Law Enforcement in an Accident
When you’re involved in an accident, law enforcement—usually police officers, sheriffs, or highway patrol—often respond to the scene of the crash. Their job? Collect as much information as possible in order to establish what happened in the accident.
Law enforcement will normally interview any witnesses to the accident, including drivers and passengers in the affected vehicles. They may take photos of the scene of the accident, in addition to filling out an official police report. The police report may or may not contain a statement describing the officer’s opinion as to who or what caused the accident.
In some cases, the police officer may also issue a traffic citation—a piece of evidence that could be used to prove fault, either in court or out of it. To be sure, a citation doesn’t mean that the defendant will be held liable for civil damages, however.
The Role of an Insurance Adjuster in an Accident
In Florida, no-fault insurance means that you will likely look to your own insurance first to collect damages. However, in the event of serious injury, you may file a lawsuit directly with the other party’s insurance company. Alternatively, your own insurance may initiate this process.
The other party’s insurance will assign an insurance adjuster to the case whose job will be reviewing all relevant information in order to decide whether or not the defendant was at fault or not. In no-fault states, it’s not unusual for insurance adjusters for both parties to research the case. Information they use may include:
Finally, the adjusters will decide who is at fault in the accident. They may use percentages to ascribe responsibility to both parties. In most cases, car accident claims are settled out of court. If the other party’s insurance refuses to accept responsibility, you can take them to court in order to compel a jury decision.
Deciding fault and settling a claim can be rather complex, which is why many potential litigants choose to retain the services of an experienced lawyer who can help them secure compensation.
Contact a Lawyer for Help After a Car Accident
Is the insurance company refusing to accept fault for your accident? Don’t let them dictate terms. An experienced attorney from The Law Offices of Casey D. Shomo can help you recover the financial damages you deserve after an accident.
Our consultations are always hassle- and payment-free. Call 561-659-6366 or fill out the form below with your contact information to get in touch with a lawyer from The Law Offices of Casey D. Shomo now.