Accidents can happen in a split second, with little room to react or recall exactly what went wrong that got you in such a mess so quickly. However, remembering how the accident transpired, what you were doing and how aware you were of other drivers on the road can all impact how your case is investigated to discover who is guilty. It may belong to the other driver completely, or it may be divided among both parties. The negligence laws that your state abides by will determine how severely this impacts your chances of getting compensated for damages or injuries. Here’s how fault is determined and what that means for you, especially if you were partially responsible.
How Fault Is Determined
Fault may first be addressed by the police who arrive at the scene after the crash. Their report of the incident and who they think is at fault could be used later by insurance agencies to officially determine how each driver is compensated. Always call the police after an accident, even if you think there are only minor issues, as many states will only allow you to file a claim with a police report. Never admit fault to them, only describe the facts of the accident as well as you can.
It’s likely that the insurance companies will do their own investigations into the accident as well. You’ll talk to a claims adjuster who will ask you detailed questions about the crash. Again, don’t admit fault, as that gives an insurance company the perfect reason not to compensate you.
What Evidence to Gather
If you want to help your own case, gathering evidence at the accident site is a perfect way to do so. Take photos of the scene to show as later proof of damages, record your notes on exactly what transpired leading up to the accident, get a copy of the police report, and take any statements from any eyewitnesses who saw the accident. All of these can be used later to determine who is at fault and are incredibly helpful for proving that the other driver was negligent.
How Negligence Laws Impact Your Case
Negligence laws vary by state. Some states split the negligence between the two parties if they find that each was a certain percent responsible for causing the accident, and recompenses are divided out reflecting those percentages. Other states offer a modified version of this, where one party must be less than a certain percent at fault to gain compensation from the other’s insurance. There is also pure compensation where if you are guilty at all, you cannot get compensated from the other’s insurance, and no-fault laws where no one is considered at fault, and all claims must be made through your own insurance.
Gathering the right evidence and navigating through tricky negligence laws can be a challenge to do on your own. Consider contacting a lawyer, like an automobile accident law firm in Memphis, Tennessee, to get a better understanding of your case and how to proceed.
Thank you to the experts at Patterson Bray for their insight into car accidents and personal injury law.