How Does Insurance Decide Who Is At-Fault In An Accident?
You are driving along when a vehicle comes out of nowhere and slams into you. Now what? You may need to go to the hospital to receive medical care. You may need to have repairs done on your vehicle. Who will pay for these costs? In New Jersey, you will first turn to your car insurance to cover these costs.
However, if your insurance policy does not cover the full amount of these damages, then you may need to seek compensation from the at-fault driver. Who decides who is at fault in a car accident?
Determining Fault in a Car Accident
In order for someone to be considered at fault, they must meet each of these important elements:
- Duty of care: The at-fault driver must have owed the other driver a duty of care. This one is easy to prove, as a driver’s license comes with a responsibility to drive in a safe manner.
- Breach of duty: The at-fault driver must have breached that duty of care, either negligently or intentionally.
- Causation: The at-fault driver, and their negligence or intentional harm, must have been the cause of the accident.
- Damages: There must be actual damages present. This includes things like vehicle repairs or medical bills.
A few other factors may go into the decision, such as any available evidence. The police report may determine who is at fault. If either driver or nearby witnesses have photographs or video evidence showing other details, these may all be considered when determining fault.
Read more: How Much Can You Sue For Following a Car Accident?
Why is Fault Important?
In a no-fault state, such as New Jersey, it does not initially matter who is at fault when an accident occurs. That is because your insurance company will cover your damages, and the other driver’s insurance company will cover theirs. However, you may need to determine fault in the following cases:
- Your damages cost more than what is allowed through your insurance
- The other driver is claiming that their damages are higher than what their insurance allows and placing the blame on you
It is also important to recognize that New Jersey is a comparative negligence state. This means that it is possible for more than one driver to be at fault. For example, one driver could fail to yield, while the other was engaged in distracted driving while text messaging, which is illegal in New Jersey. In this case, the insurance company will need to determine who was at fault, or who was more at fault for the accident.
Why You Need a Car Accident Lawyer
Comparative negligence cases can be confusing as each driver tries to claim that they hold less fault. If you do not agree with either insurance company, and how much they have deemed you to be at fault, then it may be beneficial to work with a lawyer. A car accident lawyer can help you better understand where the insurance company is getting their information.
Your lawyer can also gather more evidence. If you believe you are being wrongly blamed for a car accident, then it is important to reach out to a car accident lawyer soon.
Read more: Injured by an Uninsured Driver?
Contact an Atlantic City Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Car Accident Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a car accident in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Christopher A. Brown, Attorneys at Law represent clients injured because of car accidents in Egg Harbor, Atlantic City, Galloway Township, Hamilton, and throughout New Jersey. Call (609) 344-8270 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 3123 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 201, Atlantic City, NJ 08041.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.