Determining fault is at the heart of any car accident that involves injuries and property damage. It’s typically the first question that is asked after a vehicle collision. The answer that is determined can have a dramatic effect on the parties involved in the accident, including whose insurance will cover damages and repairs, and whether there is someone who is subject to citations, fines, or even criminal liability. So, what happens when the police who respond to an accident don’t issue any tickets, and they don’t assign fault to a specific driver?
How Police Determine Fault of a Car Accident
When the police respond to the scene of a car accident, they are responsible for creating a report about what occurred. They will interview the parties involved in the accident, as well as any witnesses who saw it happen, to attempt to piece together how the accident occurred. When they have determined that they have enough information, they will turn the report in to their department.
The report that the police file may contain a statement about who is at fault for the accident based on their professional opinion. But, many police reports detailing car accidents do not include a determination of who is at fault. It’s also important to keep in mind that even when they do state who they believe caused the accident, it doesn’t mean that driver will automatically be held legally responsible for the damages in a claim.
The police who respond to an accident may or may not issue citations to one or more of the drivers involved. While this holds those who are given citations to the responsibility of appearing in traffic court, it doesn’t necessarily prove who will be found liable in a car accident lawsuit. However, citations that are issued may be used as evidence that the driver was negligent, and they may play a part in the insurance company’s determination of fault.
How Insurance Companies Determine Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident
Ultimately, the insurance companies of the parties involved in the accident will make a determination of fault. An insurance adjuster will be assigned to the claim, and will oversee an investigation into how the accident happened. There is usually more than one adjuster involved, as each insurance company has their own. They research the accident, talk to witnesses, review any medical reports, assess vehicle damage, verify coverage, and come to a conclusion about who was at fault.
At this point, there is sometimes an agreement that is made between the insurance companies to assign partial fault to each driver. Otherwise, one is determined responsible and their insurer will make a settlement offer to the other affected parties.
The problem is, insurance companies are not always right, and they are always looking out for the best interests of their company over the best interests of the insured. That is why consulting an auto accident attorney for any accident is important. Your attorney will perform an independent investigation of your accident and determine how best to proceed with your case.
Get Help from an Auto Accident Lawyer
If you are involved in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Insurance companies will not always provide you with the best representation, which is why you need to find the right car accident lawyer to handle your case. Contact Boca Raton car accident attorney Joe Osborne at (561) 296-2600 or complete the online contact form to get the ball rolling on your claim.