Determining Fault in a Car Accident in ArizonaArizona Legal News
Who is at fault in a car accident? Determining that is basically figuring out who was negligent. Sometimes, it’s simple to determine which party made the mistake and is, therefore, liable for property damage or any injuries.
Unfortunately, it can sometimes be hard to determine who was at fault for an automobile collision. What complicates things is that multiple parties make the determination of fault after a crash, such as law enforcement, insurance companies, and even the courts.
So where can you get help?
Police Report Determining Fault
When a car accident is reported to law enforcement, the police officers must prepare a police report about the incident.
The officer has to question all drivers and any witnesses about the collision, using a series of questions that are designed to determine a truthful rendering of what actually happened. Once the police have the information, they then submit the report.
A police report can contain a statement that says who was at fault for the accident based on the information received in the report.
Unfortunately, however, many police reports don’t have a determination of fault within them. And it’s vital to comprehend that even if a police report does make a statement about who was at blame for a car accident, this does not mean that that person is legally accountable (“liable”) for any damages in a personal injury lawsuit.
A police officer may also issue a traffic citation as a part of their report. The citation is a notice that charges a driver of breaking a traffic law like going over the speed limit or making an illegal turn. The citation may carry a penalty like a fine or a deduction of points against the at-fault driver. The driver may have to come to traffic court. A traffic citation may not prove who is liable for a car accident, but it can be evidence.
Insurance Companies Determining Who Is at Fault
When a claim is filed with insurance companies after an accident, the company then relegates the claim to an adjuster. The adjustor supervises the investigation into the collision and the what is the ultimate settlement of the claim. Usually, there is more than one adjustor because each driver’s insurance company will assign an adjuster to investigate the accident.
Adjustors investigate the accident, interview witnesses, examine medical reports, determine vehicle damage, and examine details about the insurance policies of all the drivers concerned. In summation, adjustors state who was at fault in the car accident.
Typically, insurance companies determine fault based on what is the legal definition of negligence in the state where the collision took place. A person is determined as negligent when he or she does not exercise the correct amount of caution required under the circumstances of the collision.
How Courts Decide Who Is at Fault
After filing a lawsuit after a car crash to try and recover recompense for injuries or property damage to your car, a court then determines who was at fault by taking into a count whether the defendant made the mistake and was, therefore, negligent.
A court considers arguments from both parties’ lawyers, as well as evidence. This can include testimony from all drivers in the car accident, witnesses, police officers, and experts like doctors or accident reconstructionists. A judge or a jury will then decide which driver is negligent.
Police reports and fault determinations by the insurance company do not automatically predict the outcome of a case in court. Rules of evidence may stop evidence from being talked about in trial, such as police reports, which are often deemed hearsay. As well, there are different rules in the legal system.
Evidence like a traffic citation can help make your case that the driver who perpetrated the violation was careless and is at fault. This states as negligence per se and can assist your case if you were hurt.
Who’s At Fault? Talk To A Qualified Attorney In Arizona.
Have you been involved in an accident? If you or a loved one sustained an injury in a collision, contact the expert personal injury attorneys at ELG Law. Contacting ELG Law will help you in the case of your car accident claim as soon as possible. Each accident is unique and damages vary from case-to-case. It is important to retain the services of an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you within the boundaries of your accident. Contact us to discuss the details of your accident and how we can assist you to regain the compensation you fully deserve.