While some accidents have a clear-cut view of who was at fault in the accident, many do not. In these cases, all drivers involved share some degree of fault for causing the crash. This type of car accident can leave questions regarding if to and from whom money is owed for repairs and medical bills. Moreover, drivers may not know what they should do to protect themselves in a situation where they share fault for an accident.
How Fault is Assigned in a Car Accident
When an accident occurs, the drivers’ insurance companies review the damage as well as the events that led to the wreck. They will also speak to the drivers and any passengers and witnesses. Gathering this information will allow them to determine who is at fault for the crash. This may lead to them assigning the blame to one or both of the drivers.
Consider a vehicle collision that happens when you have stopped at a red light. As you wait for your turn through the intersection, another driver fails to stop and rear-ends your car. You have done nothing to cause this accident, nor the injuries and damage that happen because of it. It is likely that, when you go to your insurance company for compensation, they will find you 100% not at fault.
Now consider that you were not wearing your seatbelt during this car accident. While you were mostly not at fault for what occurred, your injuries may be more severe because you did not have your seatbelt on as the law dictates. This may prompt the insurance company to find you 10% at fault for your injuries.
Getting compensation after an accident depends on who was at fault for the wreck. In situations where both drivers are partially at fault in a car accident, a complex law comes into effect. Florida operates under a pure comparative negligence standard. This means that whatever percentage you are found negligent, the court will reduce your potential financial settlement by your percentage of fault.
Protect Yourself in Case of a Car Accident
If you are involved in a vehicle collision, you should take several steps to protect yourself, as well as help any potential case you may need to pursue.
- Call the police to report the accident. Insurance companies will utilize police reports to help them determine fault. These reports can protect you should the other driver bring a suit, or attempt to spin the events to their favor.
- Take photos of the accident scene and damages. If you sustain injuries, take photos of these as well.
- Gather information from any witnesses, as well as the other driver. This may become useful later.
- Do not admit fault at the scene of the accident! Even if you believe yourself to be responsible for the incident, there may be mitigating circumstances you are not aware of. Cooperate with the authorities, state only the facts as you see them, and allow the insurance companies to draw their conclusions from those facts.
- Speak to an experienced accident attorney before you make a statement to the insurance company. These statements are usually recorded and can be used against you in your claims.
In Case of a Car Accident, Call Steven A. Bagen & Associates
Before you speak to your insurance company, give Steven A. Bagen & Associates a call. Our lawyers can go over the facts of your case and advise you on the best strategy for receiving what you are due. Contact us today!