What to do after an accident that is your fault?

You must report the the accident to your auto insurance carrier regardless of fault. You may report the accident to the insurance agent or call the insurer directly.

By Brad Nakase, Attorney

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Have a quick question? I answered nearly 1500 FAQs.

What to do if you are at fault for a car accident

Car accidents are stressful enough, but what if you are partly or completely to blame for the collision? Your residence, your level of fault in the collision, and your auto insurance coverage will all influence what you do next. Regardless of your degree of involvement in the accident, legal counsel can be beneficial.

If you caused the accident, you might believe that you are not eligible for any compensation, but that may not be the case. After reviewing your case, our personal injury lawyers can offer you advice on the best course of action and what to include in your claim. Even if you shared some of the blame for the accident, you can still be eligible for compensation.

After a car crash, the way fault is handled varies depending on where you live. “Fault” and “no-fault” states exist:

In fault states, the person who caused an accident is accountable for the injuries sustained by anyone involved. Each person’s car insurance normally pays for their damages in no-fault states. If you reside in a fault state and were at fault in an automobile accident, you are typically liable for the other drivers’ damages along with your auto insurance. The other motorist or drivers may submit a claim to your insurance provider.

Which losses are reimbursed if you cause a car accident?

“Damages” in personal injury claims refer to any losses brought on by an accident in which negligence was involved. These harms may consist of:

  • Bills for medical care and treatment expenses
  • Prescription drugs
  • Car damage
  • Lost pay
  • Damages for pain and suffering

If the losses are not greater than the limitations of your motor insurance policy, you will typically not be required to pay for them out of pocket. You might have to cover the extra expenses if the injured driver sues you for more money than your insurance will cover. This can occur in severe car accidents, like those that cause fatalities or significant injuries. For assistance in this case, it is best to contact a vehicle accident attorney.

You won’t have to go to court in most situations since your insurance company will consent to a settlement with the injured driver.

What Happens If Your Own Car Is Damaged?

If you are at fault, the other driver’s losses are covered by your auto insurance. However, you may be concerned about personal harm.

Your policy should cover the damage to your car from the collision if you bought collision coverage. Your deductible, which is a predetermined sum of money you have to pay before the insurance begins to cover your damages, must still be paid.

For instance, if the accident caused $2,000 worth of car damage and your $500 deductible, you would pay $500, and your insurance would take care of the remaining amount.

What Happens If You Caused a Car Accident?

There are steps you should take to safeguard your rights in an automobile accident, even if you were completely at fault.

Stop and be cautious

Make sure you stop and move out of the path of oncoming vehicles. Inspect your automobile and any other vehicles for injuries, and in the event that someone is killed or gravely injured, dial 911.

Report the Car Accident

Report the accident by giving the police a call. Remain at the location until the cops arrive. If you leave, hit-and-run charges may be brought against you.

Share Information

Trade phone numbers, names, and insurance details with the other driver or drivers. You might also take note of the type and model of their car and jot down their license plate number.

Record the Scene

Take photos of the accident scene, documenting any injuries you sustain, the locations of all the vehicles, and any damage to the vehicles. Photographic proof will stop anyone from later modifying the narrative.

Inform Your Insurance Provider

Inform your insurer about the accident by giving them a call. It is usually required by policy that you report an accident as soon as possible. Otherwise, you could lose coverage.

You may receive a ticket from the police if you caused the collision. Although it may be tempting to avoid this, the consequences of not reporting the accident are much more severe.

If you have partial fault in a car accident, what happens?

In certain cases, multiple drivers are responsible for an accident. When more than two vehicles are involved, this is typical. Each state has its own partial fault legislation.

In some states, you are only liable for the amount of blame you hold in the accident—as long as you are not more than fifty percent at fault. This is how it works:

  • Your damages are calculated alongside your percentage of responsibility.
  • Your percentage of fault is then deducted from the damages you would have otherwise been awarded. If you were not entirely to blame for the accident, this gives you the opportunity to get compensated for some of your losses.
  • In some fault states, you will not be able to get compensation for any losses if you were at least 50% at fault in an automobile accident.
  • A vehicle accident attorney can assist in calculating the total amount of your losses and ensure that your rights are upheld at every stage of the procedure. In an accident, you shouldn’t be forced to pay for more damage than your own share of fault.

Will the Accident Affect My Auto Insurance Rates?

When you renew your auto insurance, your premiums will probably go up if you were at least somewhat to blame for the collision. Get in touch with your insurance provider to find out the specifics.

If you don’t cause another accident for a certain amount of time, some insurance will grant “accident forgiveness.” But, in order for accident forgiveness to help you after a recent accident, you would need to buy it in advance.

Is It Possible to Continue Without a Lawyer?

It is totally up to you whether or not to manage your case without the assistance of an attorney. But there’s no denying that legal counsel can help navigate through issues that can easily get convoluted. Furthermore, even if you share some of the blame for the accident, you might still be eligible for damages if you have legal representation.

If the other driver’s insurance company knows you were partially at blame, you may find it extremely difficult to collect any damages at all, even if you are entitled to them, if you don’t have legal representation. Furthermore, you might not even be at fault. Your lawyer can assist in determining who is actually responsible for the accident.

Kinds of Losses You May Claim

Among the damages to which your claim may entitle you are the following:

  • Payment for the medical care you received
  • Vehicle repairs
  • Lost pay if you were forced to skip work while healing from an injury
  • If you lost a loved one in the accident (wrongful death)

Have a quick question? We answered nearly 2000 FAQs.

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