Many factors determine which party is responsible for injuries or damages after a car accident including the circumstances of the accident, which state it occurred in, and which party that the police or insurance company believe is liable. For example, a driver could be harmed if another car cuts them off, but the driver who was cut off might have some degree of fault if they were speeding or turned illegally.
Regardless, the law determines fault for insurance and legal purposes. For the driver, an at-fault car accident will be handled differently than an accident that occurred because of uncontrollable reasons. The responsible party must pay for injuries or damages that occurred as a result of the collision. In some cases, both parties could be partially liable. The rules are different from one state to the next, but we will explore all outcomes below.
At Fault Car Accidents
This type of system is based on torts, which could result in liability in civil court. In an at-fault accident, someone’s actions caused the collision to occur. Regardless of if someone intends to cause the accident, they could still be found to be at fault. If the police and/or insurance company find a driver 51% or greater at-fault, then they are the ones that prompted the collision. A citation from a law enforcement officer is not needed for an insurance company to consider a driver at-fault.
This places the liability on the individual (or their insurer) who was lawfully at-fault for the collision. The driver and their insurance company will be responsible for injuries and damages that occurred because of the collision, such as medical costs, repairs, lost wages, or even suffering and pain.
After a collision when the fault is up for debate, it’s normal for people to wonder if they should get an attorney for a car accident. If you are worried or the accident was your fault and someone was injured, it would be wise to obtain a professional opinion from an attorney who offers a free consultation.
No-Fault Car Accidents
States that implement no-fault laws regarding accidents are aiming to keep vehicle-related suits out of the court system. Whether the accident occurred because of weather issues or it was a chain reaction collision, drivers with insurance don’t need to worry.
If the motorist has no-fault insurance, their insurer will cover the damages and medical expenses if a collision occurs, no matter who caused the crash. With insurance, the amount of repairs or the total loss of the car is covered after they pay the collision deductible. A deductible might not be required if the motorist who caused the accident is uninsured or the accident was a hit-and-run.
Contributory Negligence in Car Accidents
In certain situations, accident liability will be shared between everyone affected by the accident. When two or more parties are blamed for a collision, it’s considered contributory negligence. Under shared blame circumstances, neither party is entitled to compensation.
The Importance of Liability Coverage
Insurance companies can deny claims for drivers that don’t have liability insurance since it is required in every state. This means that drivers who don’t have liability insurance can’t receive any damages even if they were not at fault after a collision. For this reason, having liability coverage could be a true value if an accident were to occur. Drivers who don’t carry it are risking their entire vehicle.
In short, state laws vary in regards to which have fault and no-fault laws for car accidents. Collisions are sometimes inevitable, but drivers should take measures to avoid having to place insurance claims and remain safe on the road.