Disputing responsibility for an auto accident can result in a fair, unfair, or denied claim. It’s common for a defendant to partially or wholly blame the plaintiff for the accident. Why? Maybe they just don’t want to pay, Maybe the plaintiff was responsible–whether wholly or partially, and more.
What should you do if you’re being blamed for an accident and you think the other party is to blame? First, you should seek legal help immediately, and if you don’t know where to begin, you can google for a car accident attorney near me. After finding a few leads, you can schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your situation.
Consequences of Disputing Fault in a Car Accident
Disputing responsibility for an auto accident has the following effects:
- Invalidating the findings of the insurance company.
- Invalidating claims that you’re wholly or partially to blame for a car crash.
- It shows that you intend to fight future responsibility for the accident leveled against you.
- It shows that the disputing party plans to bring a case to prove their innocence.
- It shows you intend to get the justice that you deserve.
What Is Fault Finding?
Insurance companies use their agents to investigate the circumstances surrounding an accident after it’s reported. The agent will try to answer the following questions during an investigation:
- What caused the accident?
- Who was at fault?
- Were there any witnesses?
- Is the claimant’s account exaggerated?
- Was anything omitted?
- How can they apportion blame to the other party?
The fault-finding process involves:
- Talking to all parties involved in the crash, including witnesses who might have witnessed the accident, to get a clear picture of what happened;
- Evaluating the loss incurred by the claimant–inspecting both cars for damages or lost personal property;
- Analyzing evidence sourced from the accident scene, such as photos, the accident report, traffic citations, or medical reports.
How should you Dispute Fault for a Car Crash?
The steps for disputing a car accident fault include:
1. Preliminary Preparation
First, car accident faults can only be disputed in states that follow at-fault car insurance laws. Also, the following will come in handy when disputing responsibility for a car crash:
- Recording names and contacts of witnesses who witnessed the accident;
- Photos of the accident scene. The pictures should show the extent of vehicle damage, debris, skid marks, or anything relevant to the accident;
- Having a copy of the accident report related to the crash.
- Your treatment record, particularly the treatment measures taken immediately after the accident.
2. Notify the Insurance Company about the Dispute
Notify the insurance company that you disagree with their decision immediately after you get the details findings. Notifying the insurance company can be done via telephone, writing, or email. Also, you should clarify that you intend to provide more evidence to beat their claims/ findings. Stating your concerns can have two effects–the insurance company will either revise their findings or counteract your claims. Whatever the case, it will be the beginning of fair justice.
3. Consider the Insurance Company’s Recommendations for Disputing Fault
Most insurance companies require disputants to follow certain procedures, policies, or guidelines when disputing fault findings. An insurance adjuster will typically ask for a statement of how you filed the dispute– hoping you followed the laid down guidelines. It’s important to involve your lawyer when engaging insurance companies or adjusters to avoid self-incriminating
4. Request the Police to Amend the Accident Report
Schedule a meeting with the investigating officer to explain yourself if you don’t agree with the accident report. Addendums are typically added to original reports to rectify or fix errors. However, the disputant and the investigating officer must be on the same page.
5. Fight Traffic Violation Tickets Related to the Accident
The insurance company’s decision could be based on a traffic violation ticket related to the accident. In such cases, you should fight the ticket through the courts.
Facts about Fault in Car Accidents
1. Fault Isn’t Relevant to all Car Accident Cases
It sounds untrue but it’s true—”Who was to blame for the crash?”—is not relevant to some car accident claims. For instance, a fault is irrelevant for personal injury claims in jurisdictions that follow no-fault car insurance laws. No-fault states require policyholders to seek compensation for losses resulting from a car accident from their insurers. However, a fault is considered in some situations, even in no-fault states. For instance, severe loss (depending on the specified threshold) can require the injured person to bring a claim directly against the faulting driver.
2. Disputing Fault is not always worth it
You shouldn’t panic if you’re the faulting party for a car accident. Why? Because you have auto insurance! The insurance policy may be expensive but it’s worth it in the event of an accident. The policy will not only cover you but also the other driver if you’re the faulting party.
It’s important to seek legal advice before disputing fault for a car crash. Why? It might not be worth it at the end of the day.