After a car accident, the details of how the incident transpired are how insurance companies assign fault. While initially a jarring experience, the aftermath of a collision is an exercise to discredit, blame, and lay responsibility at the hands of a party. Sometimes who is at fault in an accident is clear, but other times, it isn’t. At times, it’s up to the insurance adjuster to decide, and they can get it wrong. If you’ve been unfairly blamed for a car accident, here is how to dispute car accident fault.
When you dispute fault for a car accident, you’re arguing against a car insurance company that their findings are incorrect. It requires the help of an experienced lawyer and carefully building a case that shows that you were not at fault for the accident in question.
With any major car accident, an insurance agent will investigate what happened. They’ll talk to those involved, including witnesses. They will inspect vehicles to detail the extent of damage, syncing it with what they believe occurred. Documents, such as police reports and medical treatment records will also be examined and used to determine the cause of the accident.
Let’s learn how to dispute car accident fault:
How to Dispute Car Accident Fault
You need evidence to build a case on your behalf suggesting you are not at fault in a car accident. Have the names of witnesses who saw the crash. Ideally, you will have photos of the damage to both vehicles and skid marks on the road, if there are any. Ask for a copy of the police report registered with the crash. Hopefully, you went to the hospital to get checked for injuries and medical attention afterward. If you experienced an injury, you want it documented.
Do Not Make Any Statements Assuming Liability
Be careful when you write, speak, and communicate about anything about a car accident. Do not assume liability. Do not admit fault. Also, do not take responsibility. Do not sign any statement admitting fault. Do not pay for damages or infer that you will.
In addition, do not offer or accept money or discuss a settlement with the other driver. Do not say anything or write anything like this. It can all be used against you and paint the picture that you are at fault, even if evidence disputes it.
Contact the Opposing Insurance Company
The first real step in fighting car accident fault is advising the insurance company you don’t accept their findings. This can be done over the phone but in writing is better. Let them know you disagree with their findings, reframe the fault picture, and advise them that you intend to present evidence that confirms you were not at fault.
Go Through Fault Dispute Processes
The insurance company likely has a fault dispute process and fault dispute policies to put you through. Move ahead with this. If they ask for a statement for their insurance adjuster, provide one.
You may want to contact a car accident lawyer to make sure you’re fully aware of your rights throughout this process. You do not want to provide evidence that could be used against you in a potential car accident court case. If you are disputing liability and who is at fault, a lawyer’s an asset. Have one.
Have the Police Report Amended
If you disagree with statements made in the police report, ask to speak with the investigating officer. Present them with your side of the story and any evidence that contradicts what’s written.
Ask that the officer make a supplement to the report or fix the error. They can do so. This will further support your case as you build evidence contrary to what the insurance companies concluded.
Dispute Any Traffic Ticket Received
You do not want to appear as if you’ve accepted your car accident’s fault. If you received a traffic ticket connected to the accident, fight it. You may have to go to court to do this. Do so.
Even if you cannot overturn the ticket, this shows the insurance company that you’re willing to do what it takes to protect your rights. It sends a message, just like hiring a lawyer does. It lets the insurance company know to take you seriously and not ignore or bully you into accepting their findings.
Determine Who Is At Fault
If you are determined to be at fault for a car accident or consult with a lawyer, and they determine there isn’t enough evidence to support the argument that you weren’t at fault, you have car insurance. Your rates may go up, and if you have enough coverage, any claims and losses might already be covered.
In some cases, it might not make sense to fight fault-finding, considering the time, effort, and money that goes into it. That said, speak with a lawyer before making this determination yourself. If you’re seriously injured, don’t have enough insurance coverage, or have experienced pain and suffering, it can certainly be worth fighting it.