It’s no secret that car accidents are a time of mass confusion, tension, and emotional turmoil. Reaching out to your insurance company often doesn’t make things that much better, as they often start asking tough questions almost immediately. If dealing with your own insurance company seems like enough of a headache, just imagine what awaits you from the insurance company of the person who hit you.
One of the biggest sources of confusion is determining who is at fault for an accident, as the parties involved often have their own sides of the story, many of which are geared to protect their innocence and absolve them of liability for the accident. However, what happens when you know you’re clearly not at fault for the incident—can you still be held liable for all or even part of it? We’ll take a look at this question and provide some insight you should know on our blog.
The Short Answer
There’s an unfortunate truth to this question that every driver should know: even if you’re in no way shape or form responsible for an accident, there’s a chance you could be held liable for it. People lie, and there’s no guarantee that the person who hit you or ultimately caused the accident is going to tell their insurance company the truth about what happened. Most insurance companies are inclined to believe the testimony of their own insured in the event that evidence can’t make a proper determination, and in these instances there’s a chance you could be stuck with at least a percentage of the liability for an incident.
However, you don’t have to be, and taking a few extra steps to protect yourself can go a long way towards ensuring liability is correctly assigned after an accident.
File Your Claim Quickly
The first thing you should do is reach out to your own insurance company. Companies are in business to make money and protect their own bottom line, and that means they have a motivation to fight for their customers and assign liability to the other driver to the maximum possible extent. Filing a claim with your company as soon as possible starts the process of getting your car fixed, gets the company investigating your claim, and can offer you a valuable resource when it comes to showing that the other party should be the one held responsible.
The other party will likely do the same as well, so it’s important that you make sure your own insurance is notified of the incident before you speak with anyone from the other company.
Document the Accident Scene
Are you one of the hundreds of millions of Americans who has a cell phone? There’s a really strong chance that you also have perhaps the best evidence-collecting device available: a camera. Modern smartphones have great cameras on them that can capture a ton of detail quickly and clearly. Use yours to take a ton of pictures of the accident scene, capturing everything you may think is relevant to your case, including tire skid marks, damage to all vehicles involved, and any traffic control devices that may have played a factor (traffic lights, stop signs, and speed limit indicators, to name a few).
Evidence like this is going to be vital to your case and demonstrating that you’re not at fault for the accident. While the other driver may claim that you’re responsible for all or part of it, evidence that shows otherwise can’t be refuted. Taking the time to gather facts and build your case can go a long way towards preventing you from being blamed and held liable for a car accident you clearly didn’t cause.
It’s also extremely helpful if you retain legal counsel from a Stuart car accident lawyer who has your best interests in mind. Call Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC at (866) 675-4427 to request a case evaluation today!