Determining fault is a crucial step in any car accident case.
Guided by state law, the insurance company will review the specific details of your crash to decide who was to blame – and how much compensation is owed. Read on to learn more!
Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina are all at-fault states. This means that the at-fault driver’s insurance company is responsible for covering the cost of medical treatment and vehicle repairs.
When determining fault, insurance companies’ procedures vary in accordance with state law. Because Georgia and South Carolina are comparative negligence states, you may receive compensation if you are less than 50% at fault. In Alabama, pure negligence is observed, which means that drivers do not receive damages if they bear any responsibility at all.
There are several factors that impact your auto accident claim. Here are some possible scenarios that you may encounter:
The Driver Admits Fault
In some instances, the drivers themselves decide who caused the accident. Auto accident lawyers advise against this method, though. Admitting fault could prove detrimental to your case if you decide to pursue legal action down the road.
The Police Report Determines Fault
The police officer who responds to your call will fill out a report detailing the accident scene. They will make a determination about who is responsible but keep in mind that police reports are not always accurate. It is wise to seek legal representation immediately in order to preserve evidence.
The Insurance Company Decides
The insurance company often makes the final determination about who caused the accident, using algorithms to evaluate the damage.
A Private Company Arbitrates
If the drivers’ insurance companies cannot reach an agreement, fault will be determined by Arbitration Forums Inc., a private company. This method reduces the number of lawsuits, saving insurance companies time and money.
A Jury Makes the Ruling
Few auto accident cases go to court, with many lawsuits settling before they reach that point. If your case does reach the courtroom, a jury will be tasked with determining fault.
Regardless of fault, our local auto accident attorneys recommend following these steps:
STEP ONE: Call the police.
After your car accident, call 911 and remain on the scene until law enforcement arrives. Seek emergency medical treatment if necessary.
STEP TWO: Gather evidence.
Take photos of the accident scene, including vehicle damage, injuries and the area surrounding the crash site.
STEP THREE: Exchange information.
Get the other driver’s contact information as well as their insurance details. If there are witnesses present who can confirm details of the crash, get their contact information as well.
STEP FOUR: Do not admit fault.
Avoid taking responsibility for the accident or making a statement to the insurance company, even if you were partially to blame. Let your auto accident attorney handle all communication with insurers.
STEP FIVE: Contact an experienced car accident lawyer.
While it is possible to handle your accident claim yourself, it is best to contact a qualified attorney as soon as possible. Your car accident lawyer can provide trusted legal advice and help maximize the damages you receive.
If you have been injured in a car crash, contact The Mike Hostilo Law Firm today! Our team of car accident lawyers will fight for the compensation you deserve, providing top-notch legal representation each step of the way. Schedule your free consultation today!
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