Car crashes can be stressful, nerve-wracking events. Being in one could easily cloud your judgment, making it challenging to deal with the situation.
This is why you should be informed about the right thing to do after a car crash, especially if you’re the victim. You have to know what to do if you get into a car accident that’s not your fault so you can sue the other driver for damages.
But before you claim damages for your injuries and the damage to your car, you first have to prove that the accident isn’t your fault. Keith Zaid Law details the things you have to do after a car crash to prove that you’re not at fault.
No-Fault vs. Tort States
Barring obvious traffic law violations and no-doubt liabilities, fault in an auto accident is determined according to state laws. States either follow a no-fault or a traditional tort system to settle car crashes. The question of whether you live in a no-fault or tort state changes the procedures for submitting an insurance claim.
In a no-fault state, you submit a claim to your own insurance company. The process for filing a no-fault insurance claim is usually more streamlined than the fault-based insurance system since the parties involved won’t have to dispute over who caused the accident.
This means there’s no risk of the insurer reducing the amount of money you can receive because you were partially responsible for the accident. All you need to do is prove that the damage to your car and your injuries are severe enough to warrant monetary compensation.
Only 12 states follow the no-fault system.
However, in a tort state, you still need to prove that you’re not at fault for the accident. And if you share a percentage of the blame, the amount of damages you can recover might be diminished. In some states, you can’t collect damages at all if you share at least one percent of the responsibility.
Unlike in a no-fault state, you’re submitting a claim to the other driver’s insurance company when you live in a tort state. The insurer will do everything they can to reduce the amount they pay. This is why it’s important to build a strong case proving that the crash isn’t your fault.
So, how do you prove fault in a car accident?
Proving Fault in a Car Accident
Documentation is your best bet when proving that a car crash isn’t your fault. This way, you have the facts on your side, making your claim as indisputable as possible.
Immediately after the crash, doing the following things can help you dispute fault in a car accident.
- Call the police. It’s wiser to call the police instead of trying to work out reparations with the other driver by yourself. The official report will become part of your accident report and help strengthen your case.
- Gather relevant information. Note the other driver’s name, license number, plate number, and contact details. You can also get the contact information of their insurance company.
- Take photos. You need photographs of the damage to your car and the accident scene. Make sure to take pictures of any debris or skid marks left on the road. Don’t forget to photograph all of your injuries. These pictures will help give you an advantage when dealing with insurers.
- Look for witnesses. If you feel that you won’t easily settle with the other driver, witness statements can help support your case. After the accident, immediately look for witnesses who saw the crash and get their accounts of what happened. Get their contact details as well, in case you take the issue to court, and you need a witness to back you up.
- Seek medical attention. See a doctor as soon as possible after the crash—your adrenaline spikes when you get into an accident, masking pain and other symptoms. Seeking medical attention ensures that you know the full extent of your injuries. Your medical bills and records also help strengthen your claim when dealing with insurance companies.
When you need to file a claim, it’s in your best interest to speak with an attorney about your accident. Your attorney will make sure that you have all your bases covered, minimizing your fault and maximizing the damages you can recover.
Look for an experienced personal injury lawyer who will aggressively represent you and ensure that you receive fair compensation.
Trusted Personal Injury Lawyer in New Jersey
With 50 years of combined legal experience, the attorneys at Keith Zaid Law have extensive knowledge of auto accidents. We strive to discover all liable parties and aggressively pursue fair outcomes for our clients. We’ll negotiate with the insurance providers on your behalf to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Keith Zaid Law’s personal injury attorneys are available 24/7, serving the following locations:
Call us at 609-365-7705 or browse our website for a free case evaluation.