One of the most critical steps of a New Bedford car accident case is determining who should be held liable for the accident. Finding whose fault it was directly affects the outcome of your personal injury claim. You may not agree with the other driver who is at fault. In fact, in most cases, the other driver or the insurance company may claim that you were at fault.
Why You Should Identify Who Was at Fault
The person who was responsible for the accident will be held legally responsible for the other person’s damages. There are situations where more than one person can be held accountable. If this is the case, fault may be apportioned to all the parties responsible for the accident.
How Police Determine Who is at Fault in a Car Accident
Police officers are responsible for preparing a police report after a car accident has been reported. They will interview witnesses and drivers present at the scene of the accident. They will ask them a series of questions meant to accurately describe what happened.
Once the police officer has enough information to prepare a report, they will forward it to their department. Based on the police officer’s professional judgment, the report might indicate who they think was responsible for the accident.
It’s very important to note that even though the police officer might indicate who they think was responsible for the accident, it does not automatically mean that person will be held liable for the accident.
Part of a police officer’s job is to investigate car accidents and issue traffic citations. Traffic citations are notices issued by police officers accusing drivers of breaking traffic law. A traffic citation, can indicate a penalty such as deduction of points or a fine. The citation may also require the driver to appear in traffic court.
Although traffic citations can’t be used to prove who was responsible for the accident, they can be used to prove that the other driver was negligent.
How Car Insurance Companies in New Bedford Determine Fault.
Once you file a claim with an insurance company, the company will assign the claim to an adjustor. The adjustor will oversee the settlement of the insurance claim and investigation into the accident. More than one adjustor will be involved in the process because each insurance company directly affected by the accident will send out one of their own.
An insurance adjustor will verify the insurance details of both you and the other driver, examine damage to property, examine medical reports, talk to witnesses and research the car accident. They will determine who was at fault based on the legal definition of negligence. Negligence is generally defined as failure to exercise a reasonable amount of caution any other reasonable person would have under similar circumstances.
For instance, if you rear end another car because you were busy texting, you will most likely be found negligent and will therefore be found legally liable for the damages caused by the accident.
How Courts in New Bedford Determine Who is at Fault
Courts will determine whose fault it was by considering whether the other driver was negligent or not. They will consider arguments from both your New Bedford car accident lawyer and the other driver’s lawyer. They will also analyze evidence and testimony as well as analyze police reports and listen testimony from expert witnesses like accident reconstruction professionals and doctors.
A judge or jury will decide who was negligent and demand that they compensate the injured party for their injuries and losses.
It’s important to understand that determination of fault by insurance companies and police reports don’t determine the outcome of a case. A number of factors determine who was responsible for the accident. For instance, even though police reports can be introduced during trial, they are generally considered hearsay.
Where to Turn for Help
Being involved in a car accident can be overwhelming. If you are planning to file a lawsuit and you are concerned about whether or not you were at fault, a New Bedford car accident lawyer can help you.
At Kevin P Landry law offices, we provide legal advice and valuable information to personal injury victims. We will protect your rights and prevent insurance companies and police officers from using your statements against you.
Contact us today at 508-999-0800 for a free initial consultation.