Statista estimates that there are over 12 million car accidents in the United States each year. Fault finding in car accidents can be tough, and you need to prepare adequately if you intend to dispute an accident fault with insurance companies. If the insurance firm believes the accident is your fault, they can make your life a living hell, especially when dealing with bodily injuries and other severe damages. You will have to battle hefty charges, forfeit claims, and the cost of your premiums can rise substantially going forward.
Ways to dispute fault in a car accident
If you get into a car accident in any of the fault-based states, and an insurance company denied your claim because they wrongfully think you are at fault, do the following:
File a personal injury claim
In case you are involved in an accident and believe you are not at fault, it is essential to immediately file a personal injury claim with the other driver’s insurance company. In such a scenario, both you and the other driver will be sending letters to dispute who was at fault. You will only win the insurance claim if you could prove the negligence of the at-fault driver. You will need to collect enough evidence that shows you were not the one at fault but the other driver.
Dispute the findings of the insurance company
If the insurance company wrongfully finds you at fault for the accident, dispute their findings immediately. Make a phone call and write a follow-up letter that you are disputing their finding of fault. In most cases, when you voice your disagreements, it results in a further investigation that may revise the earlier findings.
Contract an accident attorney
You should hire a competent car accident lawyer to file a case that disputes your involvement in the car accident in a court of law. You may be asked to file a statement narrating your side of the story with the insurance adjuster reviewing your case. You may also need to file another complaint with the insurance adjuster’s superiors if need be. It is essential to know your rights when making these statements. If possible let your attorney guide you in making statements to avoid statements that may prevent you from getting your claim
Write to the insurance regulatory body
If the company refuses to review your case despite all the mentioned efforts, it is time to move to the state body overseeing insurance affairs. Most states have put in place essential state and federal laws that come in handy when solving unfair liability issues. Make your request in writing, and once the regulatory body receives it, they will send an independent investigator to look into the case and decide on the best solution.
Ways to prove the other driver was at fault
For you to win a claim, you need enough documentation and evidence that proves the other driver was at fault. You can use the following to prove the other driver was at fault:
● Extend of damage and point of impact on your vehicle
● Skid marks on the road
● Photographic evidence showing the location of cars after an accident
● Traffic signs on the road that the at-fault driver ignored
● Video footage from traffic or surveillance cameras
● Statements from eyewitnesses
● Police reports
What to do after an accident to protect yourself
Proving faults start with what you do at the scene of the accident. If your injuries are minor, then do the following before leaving the accident scene:
● You should contact the insurance company immediately and give them details of the collision.
● Call the police. The police report will help you to prove you are not at fault. Police reports have a significant influence on courts.
● Take many clear photos of the scene of the accident. Make sure to capture details such as skid marks, accident debris, and the cars’ exact positions.
● Ensure you get the names, phone numbers, and addresses of all the witnesses willing to testify. They will help you to prove you are not at fault.
● In minor accidents, exchange insurance details and license plate numbers with the other driver
● If you have sustained severe injuries, get immediate medical attention. The insurance company can deny your claims by arguing you waited too long to get medical care.
The mistakes to avoid in a scene of a car accident
● Don’t admit liability or take responsibility for the car accident.
● Don’t sign any statement indicating who is at fault. You should contact the insurance company immediately.
● Don’t pay or give promises to pay for the damages.
● Don’t ignore minor injuries. Ensure you receive immediate medical attention and document medical records.
● Do not accept money from the other driver. You should also avoid any discussions geared towards making a settlement with the other driver.
● Don’t promise to forget about the collisions or injuries.
How to dispute fault in a no-fault state
There are 12 no-fault states: New Jersey, Michigan, Florida, Utah, North Dakota, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Kentucky, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, and New York. If you get in a car accident in these states, you could still get covered by the insurance company, no matter the driver’s fault. Should you be involved in a car accident and are accused of being at fault while in one of these states, don’t fear filing for a personal injury claim with the insurance firm.
What to do if I am sure I was at fault?
If the other driver sustained injuries and you have compelling reasons to believe you are at fault, then it is essential you immediately report the accident to your insurance company. The other driver will most likely file a claim against you, and it is best if you will let your company know well in advance.
Does the police report say who was at fault?
Police reports can provide useful evidence that insurance and the courts will use to determine the responsible party for a car accident. The reports are an officer’s official account of what happened at the scene of an accident. It contains detailed expert observations like the length of skid marks and positions of vehicles on the road. It may also include the officer’s opinion on how the accident occurred and whether the at-fault driver received a ticket at the scene of the accident. Having a police report can make it easier for you to dispute a car accident fault.
Why you need a car accident lawyer
Typically, insurance companies tend to take car accident lawyers seriously than they do civilians. If you are involved in a car accident, you should consider getting legal advice. If you do not get representation, the chances of being ignored, taken in-rounds, or bullied by the insurance company or adjuster will be high.
In a nutshell, if you are involved in a road accident and need to fight a wrong fault, you must engage an experienced lawyer. At the Joel Bieber Firm, we are a team of experienced personal injury attorneys with offices in Virginia Beach and Richmond. We also have offices in Charleston, West Virginia, and Greenville, South Carolina. Do you suspect you were not at fault in your car accident? Contact us today, and let’s discuss the legal options available to you and represent you in court.