Accident situations can be complex in many cases. When it comes to crashes that occur in heavy traffic, you might find that more than one driver is at fault. When fault cannot be 100% assigned to a single driver, things can get complicated. To find out more, read on.
Don't Admit Fault
Accident scenes can be chaotic, and victims are often in a state of shock. As law enforcement responds and tries to determine what happened, you might begin to wonder that for yourself. It's easy to assume that you caused the accident or that the other driver did, but accidents must be investigated before fault can be determined. That is why it's so important to hold your thoughts to yourself at the scene and any time after that.
Never speak to the other drivers or passengers, to the accident adjuster for the other side, or on social media about the accident. Let the experts form opinions and make determinations before you speak or act. It should be noted that you must speak to the law enforcement officer at the scene if you are able to, you must cooperate with emergency services personnel, and you should report the accident to your own insurer in a timely manner.
How Is Fault Assigned?
- The responding officer will talk to bystanders and other witnesses at the scene to form an initial opinion as to the cause of the accident. In some cases, you may be contacted by law enforcement investigators later if you are unable to respond to questioning at the scene. First, be sure you ascertain who you are speaking with, then you can respond to the officer. Once the information is gathered, it goes into the accident or police report and a copy can be obtained. You will need a copy to give to your personal injury lawyer so follow up on that.
- The insurers will also investigate the accident to determine fault. In certain cases, both your insurer and the other driver's insurer will get involved in determining fault. If you are contacted by the other driver's insurance adjuster, provide them with the contact information for your lawyer. If you don't yet have a lawyer, know that you are under no obligation to speak to them.
- Finally, if fault is still in question after the above investigations are complete, your lawyer and the insurers might consult with experts like accident reconstruction specialists who can review photos and the scene to determine who caused what damage.
If you are being told that you were at fault, even partially at fault, know that it will have a huge impact on your monetary compensation. Don't let that happen – speak to a personal injury lawyer right away.