The moments following an auto accident, no matter how minor, are typically filled with anxiety, fear, and relief. Memories of what happened can be fractured and unreliable.
Once you’ve exchanged insurance information with the other driver(s), the cars have been removed and you have received any necessary medical care, you may be dealing with possible legal action. Both the insurance company for the other driver and your own insurance company will definitely want to review the events of the accident. Therefore, it is important for you to determine who was at fault.
Determining fault in an auto accident isn’t as simple as it sounds. In many cases, a lawyer will be able to assist you in determining fault and then will help you map out a course of action to ensure you’re compensated fairly.
The first step is to determine who was “at fault”. This term is defined differently in different states, but this label is usually applied to the driver who was the catalyst for the accident.
The “at fault” driver may have been operating his/her vehicle in a negligent, careless or reckless manner that caused you and other people on the road to react. As a result of this one particular driver’s actions, an accident occurred.
The effect of being found at fault can be costly. Insurance carriers may hike up the premiums on a driver who was found at fault. In addition, the “at fault” driver may be held responsible for the medical bills, economic loss (lost wages) and pain and suffering suffered by anyone else involved in the accident. Finally, property damage may also be the responsibility of the “at fault” driver.
It’s clear that in an accident there is a great deal of fallout and stress. If you’ve been injured and your car has also been damaged, finding the “at fault” driver is a crucial step on the road to recovery.
Hiring a lawyer to help determine who is at fault is a worthwhile strategy. If it is proven that you were not the “at fault” driver, you will avoid having your own insurance rates increased and costly medical bills will not come out of your pocket.
Your attorney will work with the police to obtain a report of the accident. The police report helps with the determination of who was at fault.
Another duty of your accident lawyer will be to talk with the claims adjusters for the insurance companies of those individuals who were involved with the accident. Your lawyer will obtain your medical records and bills and submit them to the “at fault” driver’s insurance company. The end result may be a settlement that helps with your expenses.
Automobile accidents are never pleasant and they can happen in the blink of an eye. Once you’ve determined that you’re okay, remember to contact a trustworthy, experienced lawyer.
Be a careful driver and remember, you don’t want to be the one “at fault.”