How to Dispute Fault in a Car Accident
Knowing how to dispute fault in a car accident can mean the difference between receiving compensation or having to pay through your insurance. Contact an experienced attorney to learn more about your options and rights.
Even minor collisions leave people with a mountain of stress. Often, one of the most stressful factors in a claim is establishing fault and liability. Who is liable for the damages of the victim?
Moreover, who does the insurance company see as the victim? In some cases, the fault is easy to determine. For instance, if someone runs a stop sign and t-bones another car, there’s no major question about the fault.
However, what happens when the cause of a collision isn’t clear? What if the other driver tries to blame you for the accident? How can you dispute fault?
When you believe you aren’t at fault, you must have an advocate ready to fight for your rights. Working with a skilled attorney means you have someone to figure out how to dispute fault in a car accident on your behalf.
Who Determines Fault in the First Place?
First, let’s examine who actually determines fault. Typically, it falls to one of several people or groups.
- Insurance providers
- Insurance adjusters
- A judge or jury in court
Generally, car accident claims follow a typical pattern. You report the accident, and the insurance companies investigate to determine fault. So, how do they find who is at fault?
After the accident, the insurance adjusters work to collect statements from drivers, passengers, and any witnesses. Additionally, they review any photos or videos from the scene of the accident. This media helps them to reconstruct the circumstances leading up to the collision.
Once they believe they understand the cause, the company assigns fault to one or more drivers. In Texas, it’s possible for drivers to share fault.
What If They Wrongly Assign Fault?
When an insurance company wrongly blames you, it’s important to understand how to dispute fault in a car accident. There are a few key steps to follow, and your attorney can help you handle this process.
Step 1: Contact the Insurance Company
Reach out to the insurance company by phone and by email. It’s important to have a clear paper trail in these matters. While it may sound bad to “create a record of disagreement,” it is essential and helpful in your case.
Be consistent in your communication and stand firm when you asset that you did not cause the collision. Additionally, include the specific details you want to dispute in your email. It’s also a good idea to include evidence that supports your claim.
Keep a copy of all communication between you and the insurance company, both physical and digital.
Step 2: Get a Copy of the Police Report
Often, insurance companies base their decisions on the information in the police report for the incident. However, these reports are not infallible. They can contain incorrect or incomplete information.
If this is the case, it’s possible to reach out and make a correction or addendum to the report. With your attorney on your side, you have someone to help you investigate the facts of the case and amend errors in the report.
When you have proper documentation, you can make updates to your car’s make or model, insurance provider, or identification. If you want to dispute the fault or judgments in the report, you can write your version of the incident.
When you do this, it’s crucial to have your attorney review your written statement before you submit it. It’s possible to include your statement as supplementary material in the report.
Step 3: If You Received a Citation, Fight It
Before your court date for a citation or ticket, your lawyer can attempt to discuss the situation with investigating officers. While fighting a tickets isn’t always a good idea, you don’t want a mistake on the record. In certain cases, you can dismiss the ticket if you complete defensive driving.
If you disagree with the fault determination, you can also make an appeal. Typically, this involves a third-party mediator who listens to your side of the story. Don’t let your emotions get the better of your, and focus on the facts.
When you work with an attorney, your lawyer can provide guidance on how to approach this situation. Knowing how to dispute fault in a car accident can help you regain control of your life, and your lawyer is your advocate.
Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer to Help Your Case
When insurance companies or law enforcement contradict your version of the accident, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Insurance providers have professional investigators and adjusters who work specifically on these claims. Don’t you deserve a professional of your own?
When you work with an attorney, you have an advocate who knows how to dispute fault in a car accident case. Here’s how an attorney can help you:
- Collect evidence
- Guide you through the process
- Provide critical advice
- Settle disputes on fault
- Meet essential deadlines
The people on your legal team are advocates throughout the claims process, including during negotiations. When you try to build your case alone, it’s possible to miss out on important details. Unfortunately, insurance companies know this and leverage your inexperience to protect their profits.
That’s why you need an advocate who fights for your best interests. Often, car accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. That means you only pay if they win a settlement for you.
Every car accident is different, and the case requires personalized attention.
Schedule a free consultation today to learn more about your rights and options.