Understanding Fault in a Car Accident



A car crash can be a stressful enough time without confusing laws and insurance settlements. Unfortunately, you may have to deal with those if the accident isn’t a black and white situation with a clear guilty party. Understanding how fault is determined, if partial fault is applicable and how negligence plays into it by state is essential if you’re planning on getting properly compensated for your damages following the accident. Here’s four things to know about fault in an accident.


Fault by State

Different states have different laws on how fault functions in accident cases. Many states consider claims to be based on fault, and the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident is the one who must pay compensations for damage, medical costs, and lost wages. However, some states don’t base claims on fault, and personal insurance is required to cover accident damage. Look into your state’s laws to see which kind of fault you fall under.


Factors of Fault 

Fault is usually determined by the insurance companies covering the drivers involved in the accident. Depending on what they decide, one agency may pay all recompense for damages, or the fault may be split between the two parties if they are both partially guilty. Police statements can be particularly useful in providing a solid stance on who is responsible.


How Partial Fault Works

Every accident is different, and negligence may be found in both drivers involved. In this case, partial fault is distributed among them based on what percentage they are found at fault for causing the accident. Providing pictures of the accident and taking eyewitness statements may help prove your exact amount of the fault.


Types of Negligence 

If you live in a partial fault state, you may find yourself guilty of comparative negligence, where your percentage of responsibility for the crash is relative to that of the other negligent driver. You can still make a claim, but the amount received may also be relative. A modified version of this is when you can make a claim only if you are under a certain threshold for fault, like 50%. Other states work around pure negligence, where only one party can be considered guilty, and their insurance pays for damages.


Speaking to a car accident lawyer, like a car accident lawyer in MD, before discussing things further with your insurance agency can be the best way to ensure you get the most out of a bad situation. Seeking professional advice can help you determine the best way to proceed in your case.


Thanks to The Law Firm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C. for their insight into understanding fault in a car accident case.