Auto Accidents

Workers Compensation

Social Security

Storm Damage Claims

Call Now For A Free Consultation

(941) 625-4878
Attorney Referrals
& Co Counselor
Contact All Injuries Law Firm

How To Determine Who Is “At Fault” In A Car Accident

Determining fault in a car accident is a crucial factor in determining the validity of an insurance claim. In Florida, you legally have to establish fault by proving the other party acted in a negligent way. Florida is also a comparative fault state, which means that if you were in anyway at fault, even a small percentage, the value of your claim will be reduced by that percentage. Therefore when pursuing a claim on an automobile accident in Florida, it is essential to prove who is at fault so you can get the full value of your claim.

Who Determines Fault?

Since it is a comparative fault state, in Florida both drivers’ insurance companies will work together to decide each driver’s fault level and will seek to cover the cost of damages. They will use a variety of methods to determine who is at fault, most often they will rely on the police report. However insurance companies are not required by law to agree with the police on who is at fault and may come to a different conclusion.

How Is Fault Determined?

There are several ways to determine who is at fault in an accident, here are the three most common an insurance company will use:

1. Physical Evidence: Both the police and the insurance companies will look at the physical evidence of the crash. They will inspect the type of crash comparing the traffic laws of the scene of the accident with the type of crash that occur. They will look also at things like they specific damage to the vehicle and even things like skid marks and road damage. They will also consider any photographic or video evidence of the collision.
2. Traffic Citations: If one of the drivers was breaking the law at the time, they will be considered at fault. Common citations include speeding, running a red light, and not using the proper lane. It is important that you always call police to the scene of any accident to help determine fault.
3. Witness Testimony: Police and insurance companies will take statements from witnesses to the accident. Witnesses include the parties involved in the accident, any passengers in the vehicle, and any bystanders that saw the accident. Police may also act as a witness based on the evidence they collected at the scene of the accident. It is important to never admit fault immediately after an accident.

What To Do If You Are At Fault

If you are at fault, it is important that you participate fully with the process. Be honest when talking to the police and your insurance company about what happened, if you lie than your insurance company may see it as a breach of contract and may not cover your liability. Though be careful what you say because you don’t want to admit fault in case an investigation finds out that you were not at fault afterall. Finally, don’t panic. This is why you have car insurance, so you will be covered in the case of an accident. If you are worried and feel you need more protection, contact a lawyer. They will help make sure that you only pay what you owe.

What To Do If The Other Party Is At Fault

First of all you want to cooperate with the police and the insurance company to make sure they know the full details of the accident. File a claim with your insurance company and make sure you track all the costs associated with the accident. These costs include the cost of damage repairs, medical expenses, and if applicable, lost wages. During the negotiation of your claim, work with your insurance company and provide them all the information you can. Most of the time, an insurance claim will proceed without any trouble. However, if you are finding that your insurance company or the insurance company of the at fault party is not properly addressing your claim, you need to seek out help from an attorney. A personal injury attorney will fight for you and help make sure that you get the settlement you deserve.