Your Legal Rights at Work

What Does It Mean To Be At Fault In A Car Accident?

by Lewis Hamilton

When you are in a car accident, there are a lot of things that need to be figured out and dealt with. One of those things is who is at fault for the accident. Knowing who is at fault is very important. 

Why Does Fault Need to Be Assigned?

There are several reasons why fault needs to be assigned in a car accident. One of them is because fault equals liability. Liability determines whose insurance is going to pay for the accident. If you are found to be liable for the accident, your insurance company will pay for the damage to the other driver's car and any injuries that occurred. 

How Is Fault Assigned?

There are a few ways that fault is assigned. One of the most common is examining where the damage is on the car in relation to the accident. For example, if you were hit by a car that ran a red light, your car should have been hit on the side. If the damage to your car doesn't reflect that (for example, if the damage is to the front of your car) it will show that the accident didn't go the way that you said. That's why it's very important for you to document the damage to your car and to the other car involved. You need to take pictures from several different angles so that it shows all the damage from your accident as well as any pre-existing damage. 

There are some exceptions to this, and that would include circumstances like being hit by a drunk driver. 

Do the Police Assign Fault?

The police aren't really the ones who assign fault in an accident – it's more an insurance issue than a criminal issue. However, that doesn't mean that the people who are in an accident won't get a ticket because of behavior in an accident. For example, a person who rear-ends another driver may get a ticket for being reckless. 

Police reports can be a tool that the insurance companies use to determine who is at fault for the accident. The insurance companies will look at the reports as well as any statements that you file so that they can get the most accurate picture of what happened. That's why you should call the police if you have been in an accident, no matter what. 

Knowing who is at fault in an accident will determine who has to pay for any damage or injuries. Making sure that you know if you are at fault or if it's the other driver will help you – and your auto accident attorney, if necessary.