In many states, a car accident sparks the start of an often lengthy investigation into who caused the crash. At-fault states have varying degrees of recovery by the innocent driver, including the right to file a lawsuit against the fault driver and their insurance company.
How do insurance companies figure out who is liable in an accident? While there are some instances where you would think it was easy to find fault, there are other scenarios where it may involve a lot more digging. Here are some of the ways auto insurance businesses figure out and assign blame in vehicle crashes.
One Driver Broke Traffic Laws
After an accident, it is essential to call the police. While some jurisdictions will not respond unless they deem the crash serious, you will want an officer to come if they can, especially if you did not cause the crash. Police investigations and reports are something that may prove pertinent in a claims investigation of fault. If the responsible driver broke any traffic laws, the police report will state this. Officers write tickets for at-fault drivers, usually based on a broken law. As such, a police investigation and report that leads to charging one driver with a traffic infraction may lead the insurance company to conclude fault quicker.
One Car Rear-Ends the Other
There are certain accidents that almost always lead investigators to the same finding of fault. A rear-end collision practically always results in the rear driver being charged with liability. The main reason is about maintaining control of the vehicle. It is up to the rear driver to maintain a proper distance between them and the lead car. If the first car stops short, the rear one should have enough reaction time and space to stop without impact. Some exceptions to this exist. In the instance where the front car just changed lanes without proper space or cut the rear vehicle off, it may be shown that the first vehicle is responsible. This type of ruling usually involves concrete evidence.
One Person’s Account Is Different
There may have been two cars involved in the accident, but the drivers’ accounts of the events do not match up. There are various reasons for this, and it is ultimately up to the insurance companies to figure out who is accurate. After an accident, it is important to gather evidence such as:
- Witness accounts and information
- Photographs of the vehicles and scene
- All vehicle occupant information