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What Determines Fault in a Car Accident?

March 3, 2020

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, who’s at fault will be a determining factor in how you’ll be compensated by the insurance company – or by the at-fault party. Sometimes, pinpointing the other driver’s negligence is quite straightforward, and sometimes, it’s much more complicated. In other words – if another driver’s negligence leaves you injured, you need the professional legal counsel of an experienced NYC car accident attorney on your side.

The Police Report

After a car accident has occurred, the police will come to the scene of the accident to interview the drivers involved and to speak with any eyewitnesses. After asking a series of questions that are designed to cull pertinent information, the officer at the scene will put together a rough account of what transpired. This information will be submitted in the police report, which serves as an official record of the accident. While some police reports contain the officer’s determination of fault in the accident, others do not. It’s important to recognize, however, that even if it does make such a determination, this is not the last word in determining fault in your case. Further, the officer may issue a citation to the negligent driver for violating a traffic safety law, which can be considered significant evidence of driver negligence –although, again, it is not proof.

The Insurance Company

The insurance company in question will assign the accident claim to an adjustor, who will oversee the ensuing investigation. this involves a variety of investigative steps related to who is at fault, including:

  • Examining medical reports
  • Speaking with eyewitnesses
  • Verifying insurance policy details, such as coverage amounts

Ultimately, the insurance company will assign fault to the driver whose negligence is found to have caused the accident, and sometimes, it will apportion percentages of fault between both drivers.

Again, the insurance company is not the final word when it comes to determining fault. It’s important to remember that insurance companies are in the business of turning large profits, which means that they are motivated to minimize settlements – and even to deny claims outright.

Who Is at Fault?

When it comes to the law, fault in a car accident is based on driver negligence. This means that if a driver fails to exercise the degree of caution that a reasonable driver under similar circumstances would exercise, he or she was negligent in his or her duty to drive safely.

Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a New York Personal Injury Attorney

If a negligent driver leaves you injured, the dedicated legal team at Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman in New York City is on your side. Our firm is one of the oldest and best established in the City, and our car accident attorneys have decades of experience helping clients like you obtain the compensation to which they are entitled. Your case matters, so please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at 212-285-3300 for more information today.


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