Key Elements in At-Fault Car Accident Claims


Being involved in an auto accident can be one of the most stressful events in a person's life. That stress compounds exponentially when the accident is to any degree your fault, whether partially or entirely. 

Regardless of your degree of fault in the accident, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced accident lawyer, who can guide you through the process of dealing with an at-fault car accident. 

What Is an At-Fault Car Accident?

An at-fault car accident is an auto accident in which the at-fault driver's car insurance provider pays for any damages incurred. 

Some states use the “no-fault” doctrine. In so-called “no-fault states,” after a car wreck, regardless of who caused the accident, each driver must file a claim and seek compensation for damages from their own auto insurance company. Their auto insurance policies typically include a coverage called personal injury protection (PIP), as well as collision coverage to pay for vehicular damage.

The majority of states, including Ohio, adhere to the “at-fault” doctrine, which holds at-fault drivers responsible for all of the damages they caused in the accident. In general, the at-fault driver is the party whose negligence caused the accident to occur. Some examples of driver negligence include:

  • Failing to maintain vehicle equipment, such as brakes
  • Rear-ending another vehicle
  • Violating a pedestrian's right of way
  • Speeding
  • Texting while driving 
  • Other means of distracted driving
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Importance of Gathering Evidence in At-Fault Car Accident Claims

If you are involved in a car accident, the most important thing is to seek prompt medical attention if necessary. You will also need to contact the police and inform your insurance company about the accident. Finally, if the accident was even partially your fault, you should strongly consider contacting an attorney.

As soon as you are able, it is crucial to pull together all potential evidence surrounding the accident. This evidence will help insurance adjusters and, if necessary, courts to prove or dispute each party's fault in the accident. To do this, they must prove negligence on the part of at least one party to the accident. 

Types of Evidence to Support Your At-Fault Claim

There are multiple pieces of physical evidence you should collect to support your at-fault claim, including:

  • Police reports
  • Statements from witnesses to the accident
  • Estimates or bills to repair vehicle or property damage
  • Photographs of the scene, any injuries, and any damage to the vehicles or other property
  • Any traffic tickets issued due to the accident, documenting any broken traffic laws
  • Medical bills or records detailing any car accident injury

Witness Statements and Their Role in Establishing Fault

Obtaining statements from anyone who witnessed the accident can go a long way toward proving fault in an automobile accident. Witnesses are neutral third parties who have nothing to gain from taking one driver's side over the other, so their impartial statements carry a good deal of weight when attempting to prove your case. 

If possible, at the accident scene, approach any witnesses and ask for their contact information. That way, you or someone on your behalf can reach out at a later time to obtain their statements. 

Role of Insurance Companies in At-Fault Car Accident Claims

After a car accident, you should contact your auto insurance company to inform it about what happened. Many insurance policies require you to report an auto accident as soon as possible to avoid having your claim denied. 

Navigate Insurance Companies After an At Fault Accident

After a car accident, each party's insurance company typically sends an insurance adjuster to examine the vehicles, the accident scene, and the evidence to determine each party's percentage of fault for the accident. Ohio's comparative negligence law allows parties to the accident to recover damages that are reduced by the individual's own percentage of negligence in the accident. A party who is found to be more than 50% at fault cannot recover damages from the other party. 

Understand Insurance Policies and Coverage Limits

It is essential to understand what your vehicle insurance policy covers and what the coverage limits are for each category. For example, most insurance policies contain collision coverage, which pays for damages to the policyholder's vehicle in the event of an accident. 

Your car insurance policy may also contain property damage liability coverage, which pays for damage to the other driver's vehicle or any other property damaged in the accident, such as fences, mailboxes, and buildings. 

Personal injury protection (PIP) is not available in Ohio. Instead, insurance companies here offer medical payments insurance, also known as MedPay, to help pay medical expenses caused by a car accident. 

For each category of insurance, your policy has a coverage limit, which is the maximum amount your insurance company will pay out if you are found at fault. Every auto insurance policy is different, so you should familiarize yourself with the coverage and limits specific to your particular policy. 

Types of Damages Available in At-Fault Car Accident Cases

As in most personal injury cases, victims may be entitled to damages, or monetary compensation, for any losses that result from an accident caused by one or both parties' negligence. These damages can include compensation for:

  • Vehicle damage
  • Medical bills for car accident injuries
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Lost wages

Seek Legal Advice From an Experienced Lawyer for At Fault Car Accident Claims

Whether you or another party has been injured in a car accident or someone's property has been damaged as a result of the accident, an experienced personal injury attorney or car accident lawyer can help you to navigate the potentially tricky aftermath. Contact Moore Law today.

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If you have been injured or have lost a loved one as a result of another person's negligence, you deserve to be fully compensated for your losses. The simple fact is that you should not be forced to pay the price for another person's careless or reckless actions.