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How the Determination of Fault Impacts Insurance Settlements

After an auto accident, your insurance company will launch an investigation and dispute the fault outrightly assigned to you. Your insurance company does not want financial liability for your accident, as a result, they will do all they can to refute fault.

When determining fault, your insurance agent will attempt to recreate the accident using the evidence you have submitted to them. If your account of the accident differs from the other driver’s version, the insurance companies in question will rely on the evidence to tell them what happened. Insurance companies lend more credibility to high-quality evidence.

Why Your Insurance May Compromise On Liability

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Your insurance company wants to settle your case as quickly as possible; therefore they will attempt to end any dispute between themselves and the other party’s insurance. To accomplish this, they may compromise and accept some fault on your behalf, even if you were not at fault. If neither insurance company can prove their insured was completely blameless, each may accept up to 50% liability for the accident.

In this case, your insurance company may mark your claim as an at-fault claim. As a result, your premiums may rise. To avoid this situation, you should gather and submit as much evidence as possible to your insurance company; ensuring liability falls with the correct party.

Comparative Negligence: 

Some states determine liability based on comparative negligence. Essentially, fault will be assigned as a percentage, in a comparison between the involved parties. If your state works under comparative negligence, your settlement will be reduced in proportion to your fault. For example, if you have 20% fault, you will only be able to pursue up to 80% compensation. Conversely, the other party who has 80% fault will only be able to pursue up to 20% compensation. 

Modified Comparative Negligence:

Under modified comparative negligence, you can only seek compensation from the at-fault party if you are less than 50% at fault.

Contributory Negligence/Pure Contributory Negligence:

Similarly, under contributory negligence, you cannot pursue compensation if you share any degree of fault, no matter how small.

Gather Evidence

After an auto accident, you should gather as much evidence as you can. The evidence you submit to your insurance company will aid in their determination of fault. The evidence you submit should include photographs, a police report, witness statements, videos of the scene, etc. 

What If I disagree with the Determination of fault?

If you do not agree with the fault determination made by your insurance company you can appeal their decision. Each insurance company has its own process that will allow you to contest this decision. You will present evidence supporting your belief that the insurance company erred in their determination to an arbitrator who will then render a decision, which both parties must abide by.

Were you or someone you know involved in a recent auto accident? Call Auto Accident Care Network now at 801-683-1948 to connect with a live care advocate. Our team at AACN can connect you to trusted attorneys and doctors to schedule a free legal consultation, a free thirty-minute massage, and a no-cost medical exam!

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