As you know, car accidents cause so much grief and at times, some of the most difficult experiences we can go through.
As terrifying as it seems, the risk of personal injury alone is frightful especially considering how reckless some people drive.
In this article, we will look at liability and some important do’s and don’t when facing injury from car accidents.
Car Accidents – Determining Liability
Furthermore, we also need to think about property damage as well. The age of your car doesn’t matter when you end up paying for repairs. and that’s if the vehicles are repairable.
Car accidents are the last thing you want to deal with when traveling on a family road trip.
And, after dealing with car accidents, we all want to avoid buying a new especially given the expense to complicate the situation.
Especially if the fault lies with the other party. At this point, financial compensation options become a reality.
1 – Document Everything At The Scene
Ideally, The first thing you need to make sure you do is to document everything that has happened at the accident scene.
This will, later on, play an important role in determining liability and who was truly at fault.
Thankfully, it’s much easier now to get record proof with the use of smartphones. So, you should take pictures of everything in the scene.
Make sure you note the position, and condition of both cars, any damage you might have personally sustained.
More so, document anything that you think might help experts determine liability in the future.
2 – Always Get Police Reports
Ideally, another thing that always makes a difference in determining liability in car accidents is police reports, and this is why you should do your best to get a copy.
When the officer arrives on the scene, they make a preliminary report with their takes on what happened, and it might even include the liable party.
This is why it’s extremely important to try and get yourself a copy. And, be sure to make a copy of that copy as well.
Moreover, it will help you set a strategy for getting compensations and it will definitely be of great help once you start dealing with insurance companies.
3 – Acquire Contact Information
It is a given that you have to get the contact information of the other party, including their phone number, license plate, insurance company name and number, and basically any other personal information.
Moreover, you should do the same with any witnesses at the scene that might have seen what happened.
This step is very important in determining liability and will provide the proof you need for any future compensation.
So, before you leave the accident scene, try to get your hands on their phone numbers, names, and other personal information so you could reach out to them if needed.
4 – Get An Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
Getting the right lawyer plays a huge factor in determining liability.
The other party might be responsible, and you might be entitled to compensation, but if your attorney is incompetent, it won’t really matter because they will not be able to prove it.
This is especially important in a place like New Jersey, wherein 2016 alone, there were 273,473 motor vehicle accidents, plenty of which resulting in serious injuries.
So, you have to get yourself a motor vehicle lawyer who knows what they are talking about, and who has dealt with this kind of case before.
If you try your luck with the first lawyer that crosses your path, you might be seriously jeopardizing your chances of getting any compensation.
An attorney who deals with these kinds of cases before will have the necessary experience to collect evidence and prove that the other party is liable.
They will also have in-depth knowledge of laws and regulations in your state concerning this kind of accident, and more importantly, they’ll have dealt before with insurance companies.
And dealing with those is quite tricky because they’ll always try to give you as little money as possible if any.
This is why you have to get someone who knows how to handle them and can outmaneuver them to get you the compensation you deserve.
5 – Don’t Say Too Much
In fact, it is best that you don’t even say anything after the accident happens.
Just exchange insurance information with the other party, because anything you might say can and will probably be used against you.
Whether recorded by a police officer, other parties, or witnesses, saying too much can incriminate you and might make a huge difference in determining liability at the end of the day.
So, don’t say anything and keep any details to yourself. Remember, when dealing with car accidents it’s always best to use the golden rule.
6 – How Insurance Companies Determine Liability
Now that you know what you need to do in order to help your case, you should also understand how insurance companies determine liability.
However, each one appoints an adjuster who presides an investigation on behalf of the respective insurance companies from both sides.
They interview witnesses, view medical and police reports, and so on.
Eventually, the adjusters will determine who is liable and in some cases, they’ll find both parties liable, assigning a percentage of payments.
Over time, adjuster determines liability and, in some cases, find both parties liable. Then they assign a percentage paid by each.
7 – How Courts Determine Liability For Car Accidents
If you don’t like the settlement offered by the insurance company, you can always take it up to the court.
This is why you need to always have a specialized lawyer, as they will advise you on whether to settle or not, as well as handle any legal proceedings should the case move forward.
The court determines liability by trying to find out the negligent party,
More so, meaning they failed to take the necessary precautions to avoid the accident.
Both lawyers will naturally present their cases, but the court will also take other testimonies from witnesses, the police officer who reported to the scene, doctors, and other experts as well.
Then, a judge or a jury determines liability and the amount of entitled compensation.
Trying to determine liability in car accidents is tricky, and can get complicated.
In addition, this is why you need to be very careful about how you handle the repercussions of a car accident.
Start with documenting everything and gathering any evidence you can, and most importantly, get yourself a lawyer who knows how to handle these cases.
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Be sure to read 4 Safety Tips for the Family Road Trip too!
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