How is Fault Determined in a Car Accident?

Categories: Vehicle Accidents

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Experienced Car Accident Attorney Serving all of Colorado

Fault in a car accident ultimately determines who will be liable for injuries and losses associated with that accident. In general, fault is determined based upon negligence – and in some cases, it may come down to which party was more negligent.

In some car accidents, it is easy to tell who is at fault – such as when a person has rear-ended another because of texting while driving. In other cases, it may not be as clear. There are accidents where fault is not as definitive. Complicating matters even further, there may be multiple parties involved in the accident, as well as multiple agencies. From local law enforcement to insurance companies and the courts – everyone has an interest in determining fault, but for different reasons.

Insurance companies do not want their clients to be found at fault for an accident. Therefore, they may do what they can to put the blame on the other party or shift some of the negligence in order to reduce the settlement. That is why it is important to seek legal representation after an accident – so that your best interests are considered, not an insurance company’s bottom line.

How Police Determine Fault

Typically, fault will come down to the police report. A police report may not spell out negligent acts, but it often determines which party caused the accident. This is why it is critical that you report any accident to the local police, even if the incident appears minor.

To determine fault, police officers will interview both parties, as well as any passengers. Once they decide that they have enough evidence, they may determine which party is at fault. Depending on what occurred, one party may receive a citation.

It is important to note, however, that not all police reports determine fault. Even if a report states the responsible party, this will not automatically result in legal responsibility.

Insurance Companies and Fault

Once an accident has occurred, a claim is filed with an insurer. The insurance claims adjuster is then brought in. He or she will oversee the claims process and settlement. Usually, there is more than one adjuster involved. The adjusters will do their own investigation, which may include looking at evidence like medical reports, police reports, photographs, damage reports, and the insurance policy details. From there, they will decide who they feel is at fault for the accident, and therefore liable for the damages.

In general, insurance companies base their fault accusations because of negligence, which is critical from a personal injury suit standpoint.

Avoid Fault Accusations – Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

Even if you were not at fault for the accident, you may find that the other party’s insurer will do what they can to reduce their liability. That is where a personal injury attorney comes into play. An attorney can help you thwart these accusations, but also ensure that you receive the compensation deserved for your injuries. Attorney Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C. can help you with your claim. Schedule a free consultation today at 970-704-0888, or request an appointment via our contact form.

Mark Rubinstein

Attorney Mark S. Rubinstein has been practicing law for more than 30 years, including 25 years in Colorado. He founded Mark S. Rubinstein, P.C., in Carbondale after working for law firms in Denver and earlier in his career in San Diego. He focuses his practice in the areas of criminal defense and personal injury representation, and he is well known throughout western Colorado as an effective and unwavering advocate for his clients.