What Is an At-Fault Auto Accident?
An at-fault auto accident is an automobile accident that requires the driver's insurance company responsible for the accident to pay damages. At-fault automobile accidents happen in states that follow the at-fault or tort system, which states that at-fault drivers are responsible for all of the damages caused by the accident, including:
- Medical bills
- Vehicle damage
- Physical pain
- Mental anguish
- Lost wages
How Is Fault Determined in an Accident?
If you find yourself stuck in the aftermath of an auto accident, you need to determine who is at fault through:
To protect yourself, you need to prove negligence by documenting the accident.
One of the best ways to prove negligence is to take pictures. You can immediately start taking pictures after the accident to help show that the other driver was negligent. Take pictures of the cars, the wreck, the driving conditions, and any other features that can help the case. If you can't take pictures due to personal injury, you can ask a witness or another passenger.
You should also talk to witnesses of the accident to help prove fault in an automobile accident. Witnesses can assist you greatly in proving your case because they are neutral third parties that don't have the incentive to help you or the other driver.
Approach the witnesses and ask them for their contact information so your or someone on your behalf can follow-up with that person later.
How Should You Handle an At-Fault Accident
No one wants to get stuck in an automobile accident — it's expensive, dangerous, and may even cost lives. However, if you do get involved in an auto accident, here's what you should do:
Contact Authorities to Ensure a Police Report Is Filed
Contact authorities to ensure a police report is created. Police reports will help establish liability since they are usually the first to arrive at the scene. A police report typically contains the following:
- The names, insurance information, and addresses of all drivers involved in the crash
- The date, location, and time of the accident
- The contact information of witnesses
- A description of the road conditions and weather
- A description of the automobiles involved
- A description of the damages
- A diagram of the accident scene
- Notes about what the drivers said to the police officers
Contact Your Insurance Provider
Then, contact your insurance provider to start the claims process. They can tell you what they need to process your claim and what you can expect during the claims process.
You should also give them the other driver's insurance details to speed up your at-fault accident insurance claim. Keep in touch as you discover more facts about the accident.
As mentioned above, take pictures of the involved vehicles, the crash scene, the roadway, evidence on the side of the road, etc. Be sure the photos include perspective shots that allow the viewer to understand where the objects in the photos are located at the scene. Close-up photos without perspective can be difficult to use.
At What Point Do You Need a Lawyer?
If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile accident, you need to talk to a personal injury lawyer about your accident.
An experienced car accident lawyer will walk you through the process of obtaining compensation for the damages you've suffered. They will help you establish liability and ensure that you're not being taken advantage of by the other party's insurance company.
Although compensation may not take away the damage or injury done, it will help stabilize your life financially and can help pay for future medical bills and other physical needs.