How Does Fault Law Work?
Each state gets to set laws regarding how it wants to handle car accidents and claims. Some have created no-fault laws, which means that one driver usually can’t file a suit against the other even if they caused a crash. In states like this, each party files a claim with their insurance carrier for help paying for car damage and bodily injury.
Other states allow people to file lawsuits and challenge each other when an accident happens. At-fault states make an investigation and liability determination necessary for all parties involved. Take a more in-depth look into what these fault laws mean and how decisions get made.
Finding Someone Responsible Means Liable
When talking about at-fault, it means someone is going to be the primary cause of the crash. This finding then dictates who is going to pay for the other’s damages.
Some states operate under a pure comparative fault guideline. This means that you may still get your damages covered by the other driver, even if you played some part in the accident. The amount you get is comparable to your level of responsibility. In other states, proportional comparative fault law doesn’t allow the driver who is most responsible to collect anything. Finally, if your state law uses a pure contributory negligence determination, the other party is not liable if you are found to have contributed in any way to the accident.
The Insurance Company’s Role
Both insurance companies have an investigative process to follow. In doing this, they usually interview both drivers, any witnesses, and request accident reports from the police. It is not always easy for the adjuster to determine who is at fault when the stories are different and no one can back up either side. In these situations, the adjusters may rely on vehicle damage, traffic, or weather reports at the time of the crash, as well as their own professional expertise to make the call. The two companies may not agree on who is responsible. In this instance, they may either fight it out in court or decide that each driver should go through their own insurance.
Proving a Wrong Fault Finding
If you believe you are the victim of a wrong liability determination, you have the right to file a lawsuit and fight for yourself. Insurance companies do not always get their findings correct. In these instances, you may have to hire a lawyer, accident recreation experts, and others to testify on your behalf. When your injuries are severe enough to warrant this, you are most likely looking at something catastrophic.
A car accident lawyer, like a car accident lawyer in Green Bay, WI, is your strongest partner in the fight against a fault determination. Contact one today to get the ball rolling.
Thanks to Hickey & Turim Attorneys at Law for their insight into how fault law works.