What Happens If I'm at Fault in a Car Accident?
Car accidents cause tons of injuries and deaths every year, and even if they don't cause an injury to the victim, it still can make them lose a lot of money. Therefore, victims can always file a lawsuit against the driver who hit them to receive compensation for what happened.
However, some people may wonder: "What happens if I'm at fault in a car accident?" These issues can take thousands of dollars from the ones who cause them, leading to severe financial issues in the future.
Because of that, insurance companies and at-fault drivers try any legal solutions available to avoid compensating the victim or giving car insurance coverage. However, not everyone knows what to do after a car accident since the process both parties go through can vary depending on where the accident happened.
Getting caught in a car accident is always an ordeal, especially if the other driver was the victim. Most articles on the internet tell people how to sue the at-fault driver, but not many of them teach those drivers what happens to them after they are sued and how to defend themselves from it.
This page shows what happens when someone is at fault in a car accident and how those people can defend themselves from the victim's lawsuit and the insurance company policies. Anyone who needs to seek legal advice can contact the Keating Firm LTD.
Contacting this law firm gives at-fault drivers a chance to win an insurance claim, so no one should be afraid to ask for a free case consultation from this law firm. Its contact information is on its website.
What to Do When Being at Fault of a Car Accident
The first thing to do after causing a car crash is to get safe, which means getting out of the street to avoid problems with another car. Both victims and at-fault drivers must get out of their vehicles as a security measure.
After that, they must make sure there wasn't anyone severely injured by the car accident. Not doing that can get the liable party in more trouble, so it's best to check on the other driver.
Never Leave the Accident Scene
When being involved in an at-fault accident, the liable driver can't -by any means- leave the place.
Leaving the car accident scene before the police arrive can lead the other driver to think the at-fault driver was trying to escape. Doing that could make the liable driver face criminal charges for a hit and run. This crime is taken seriously in the U.S, so being charged for it is not something a judge may take lightly. The best liable parties can do is wait for the police to arrive and tell them what happened.
After getting to a safe place, liable drivers may call 911 to let them know what happened. Car accidents are something dangerous to everyone involved in them, so calling 911 could be what determines if someone lives or dies. Regardless of that, at-fault drivers can try to see if the other driver is injured or at risk of dying and tell everything to the 911 officer who picks their call. However, it's essential to avoid giving any unnecessary details to anyone in the scene.
As many people know, anything a person says can be used against them in case they go to trial, so no one may ever admit fault for a car accident when calling 911 or talking to the victim. The best thing to do is to avoid saying anything compromising without a Nashville car accident lawyer.
In case the driver at fault in a car accident doesn't need to help anyone and is already in a safe spot, they need to start getting as much information and evidence as they can. They can start by asking third-party witnesses if they saw what happened and writing down their phone numbers. Doing that allows lawyers to contact witnesses if they need them to give a statement.
If the driver has a smartphone available, they may also start taking pictures of the accident, including car damage and injuries. All the evidence the victim and liable party collect can be used against both of them in case they decide to go to trial.
Talk to the Other Driver
Although it can scare some people off, drivers at fault in a car accident must talk to the victim as soon as they can. However, they don't need to give them a lot of information since they only need to ask for their full name, contact number, home direction, and license plate. The victim may also ask that information from the liable party in the accident, so it can be considered standard procedure.
Drivers at fault in a car accident must avoid saying anything that could lead the other driver to think they are admitting fault for the accident. Additionally, neither of the drivers may accuse the other one of anything before speaking to their lawyers.
Victims also tend to ask for the other driver's insurance information and give them their own insurance company contact number.
Call the Insurance Company
The insurance company is the one that makes sure to pay for the compensation of the other party, which means that, if someone is at fault in a car accident, their insurance company needs to pay for everything or almost everything that the insurance policies state.
Therefore, liable parties have to call the insurance company to let them know what happened. As it was mentioned before, admitting fault could bring the liable driver a lot of trouble, so they may only let the insurance company know there was an accident.
Liability insurance doesn't tend to cover all case expenses, though, so drivers must take that into account when negotiating with the other party.
Lawyers have all the insurance information drivers need to go on with the legal process in the best way possible, so both parties must address all their concerns with their lawyers.
Make a Statement at a Police Station
Running from the accident or leaving the place before reporting the accident from the police can make the police department charge the driver for a hit and run, so drivers at fault in a car accident must go to a police station and let officers take their statement for a police report.
Police officers may ask the person reporting the accident all the details they can give them about what happened, but they must not say anything compromising without their lawyers. Drivers at fault in a car accident must limit themselves to telling the officer that an accident happened and who was involved in it.
If the case goes to trial, that police report may be used as evidence, so many people don't recommend liable drivers to say anything without their lawyers.
Hire a Lawyer
Although it's not something that the law requires drivers to do, they may want to call a lawyer as soon as the accident happens to let them know what happened. Not all victims do it, but most of them may make a car accident claim, and hiring a lawyer can save liable parties from losing all their money.
Liable drivers can tell all the details of what happened to their lawyers since they are the ones who know how to handle the situation. Car accident attorneys also know how insurance companies may proceed and what to tell them.
All parties can call a lawyer referral service, but not all lawyers are fit to help their clients in the best way possible. People wanting to win their car accident cases without losing a lot of money must hire a law firm with qualified and experienced lawyers.
The Keating Firm LTD has excellent car accident lawyers who can help victims and liable drivers with any personal injury issues they have.
What to Do If the Victim Sues the At-Fault Driver
When a car accident happens, the insurance company and liable drivers should expect victims to file a lawsuit against the negligent party and make a car insurance claim. Those lawsuits specify the amount of money insurance companies and at-fault parties must pay as compensation to the victim.
All the vehicles involved in at-fault accidents are taken into account for both drivers' driving records. If someone receives a car insurance claim, they have to respond to it and state if they consider themselves at fault or with no fault for the accident. After doing that, the driver or their lawyer has to contact the insurance company and talk about the insurance policies that apply for the case. It's essential to know that the insurance company covers a percentage of the damage the victim received, but it does not always cover all of it.
Liable drivers still need to pay for a percentage of the lawsuit even if the insurance company covers a part of it. However, keep in mind that the insurance company may try to avoid paying for anything if it can.
Insurance companies determine fault depending on the state laws, so learning the basics about them may help drivers take a step further from the other party. What happens in most cases is that the liable party makes a counter-offer that implies paying less money than the victim initially asked for.
If the victim doesn't accept the offer, the case may go to trial. There, both the victim and the liable party need to use all the evidence they have to win the case or at least get a favorable deal. Most car accidents end up without going to trial.
Types of At-Fault Laws
Not all states in the U.S have the same regulations regarding car accidents and car insurance claims, so all the parties involved in a car accident need to know the law of the place where the accident happened. There are different types of fault-based cases, and they are:
States with a no-fault system have laws that benefit people at fault in a car crash. When an accident happens in a no-fault state, victims have to contact their own insurance company to cover medical expenses, so the person at fault doesn't have to pay for that.
Anyone paying for car insurance needs to include personal injury protection (PIP) in the deal. However, some of these states require drivers to do that, so all car insurance businesses include that benefit whether their clients ask for it or not.
What Is PIP?
PIP involves coverage for medical bills of all drivers involved in a car accident. This car insurance policy doesn't cover vehicle damage, though. Therefore, fault-determined drivers still need to pay for the vehicle damage that the other driver's car may have suffered and other lost wages.
Although they have to pay when involved in an at-fault accident, liable parties still lose less money than people who pay for medical bills.
Fault-based states are the ones in which liable drivers have to pay for crash injuries and vehicle repairs. However, if the other party also is determined at fault for the accident, they also have to pay for the other driver's damages.
Regardless of that, there are different at-fault subtypes in different states, and those differences determine how much each driver has to ask the other driver's insurance company. Personal injury lawyers know perfectly the law in the state they operate, so asking them is always a wise move.
Here are the different types of at fault-based states:
Pure Contributory Negligence
Unlike no-fault states, pure contributory negligence states don't allow drivers at fault to get any liability insurance payments even if they need it to pay for medical bills.
When determining fault in car accidents, the insurance adjuster determines the percentage of fault each driver had in the accident, and even if a driver is only 1% liable for it, it can't receive any compensation for lost wages or any other accident-related expense.
It's not that difficult to understand how insurance companies determine fault and accident-related expenses, so victims and liable parties only need to study to understand it.
Pure Comparative Fault
Pure comparative fault states are the opposite of the previously mentioned fault type since the insurance carrier can give collision coverage and liability coverage even if the liable driver is 99% at fault for the accident.
Overall, victims can only receive compensation from their insurance agent if they are not 100% at fault for what happened.
Modified Comparative Fault
The last fault type is modified comparative fault, which is also known as modified comparative negligence. According to comparative negligence, there can be more than one or two parties liable for a car accident.
These states allow all parties to get collision insurance and liability insurance as long as they are less at fault than the other driver. Some states set the at-fault limit at 50%, while others have it at 51%, so it's important to know that before paying for the other driver's car repairs.
What Do Insurance Companies Do When a Car Accident Happens
Insurance companies play a fundamental part in car crashes since they are the ones that pay for the victim's compensation, or at least they do as long as insurance policies require it.
When an accident happens and someone makes a catastrophic injury claim, insurance companies send insurance adjusters to determine the accident's worth. Car insurance rates can increase or decrease depending on how at fault each party is.
However, the victim must always build a strong case against the liable party since the at-fault driver's insurer may try to offer a deal to pay less money at the end of the day.
Do Drivers Lose Insurance Premiums After a Car Accident?
Victims' insurance rates usually don't go up after a car accident. However, even victims could lose insurance premiums after going through that problem, so the most appropriate thing they can do is be decent drivers until they get everything back.
Winning car accident cases is no easy task, but it's also not impossible. As long as the liable party has all the information they need and hire a qualified lawyer, everything can go on smoothly.
However, the most recommendable thing to do when insurance adjusters determine fault in a car accident is to offer a settlement to the other party. Although some policies offer accident forgiveness, it's uncommon to see a case that ends with the liable driver receiving that benefit. Everything gets worse if there's an injured driver.
Settlements require liable drivers to pay a reasonable amount of money for what happened and then forget everything for good. Victims can't go back to the same case after a settlement is made, so it's also a decent alternative if they don't want to go through a car accident legal process again.
Every case is different from the other, though. Both parties must always ask their lawyers what the most recommendable thing to do is. The Keating Firm LTD is highly experienced with car accident cases, so clients can visit its website and use its contact information to receive a free case consultation.