Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be trying at best and very difficult. With the help of a great attorney to fight for the settlement you deserve, you can get your settlement and start moving toward a better life. So, what is fault and how is your attorney going to prove it? Keep reading to find out.
What is Fault in a Car Accident?
Fault is just what it sounds like. It is the established principle that one of the drivers is the cause of the accident and that something on their part, either something they did that was careless, or something they did not do that would have made everyone safer, is the cause of the accident. In some states, there is a no fault rule. This means that no one can be legally named as the person that caused an accident.
What this means for an accident is that before anyone can sue the other driver for their injuries or for compensation, they must first sue their own insurance to cover the cost of their medical bills and other damages. This does not mean that if someone dies, the family of the person who passed cannot file a wrongful death suit, however.
It simply means that each person is responsible for their own bills with the help of their own insurance. There are currently 12 no fault states; Florida, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Utah, and Minnesota. The other 38 states are at fault states and you can sue the other driver for damages.
If you live in a fault state, this means that you can sue the other driver and their insurance as well as them personally for your medical bills and other damages that were sustained as a direct result of the accident that the two of you were in. If you life in a fault state, you can avoid filing with your own insurance and can avoid suing your own insurance which is going to keep your policy from increasing in price every month.
How Does an Attorney Prove Fault in a Car Accident?
There are three different ways that your attorney can prove fault when they do start to work on your case. The first is when the other driver has obviously violated some safety or traffic laws that are in place. This means that the other driver did something like ran a stop sign, ran a red light, crossed over into your lane of traffic, etc.,
this is one of the easiest ways that fault can be proven and does mean that you are going to be entitled to a settlement to pay your medical bills, to pay for your car and to pay for other damages that you might be dealing with.
With obvious traffic violations, it does help if you have witnesses that saw the accident, photos from traffic cameras, and even from other cameras that might be in the area. The more proof that you have, the better. This is something that will likely be reflected in the traffic report of the police officer or emergency personnel that comes to the accident and then reports on it.
The second way that attorneys work to prove fault is with those accidents that involve rear end collisions and left hand turns. In most instances of rear ending accidents, it is almost always the fault of the person that does the rear ending. In many cases, if someone rear ends you, it is because they are not paying attention, they are following too close, or they are not heeding the rules of the road and they have not given you enough space so that when you stop, they also have the time and the space to stop.
With left hand turns, this is something that causes a huge number of accidents. Since you have to cross lanes of oncoming traffic with left turns, you do need to wait until it is completely clear before you try to turn. If you do not, it can cause you to be hit by another driver. With left hand turn accidents, though the person that is making the turn is likely to get the worst injury and the most damage to their car, and possibly the most damage to their body, you are not at fault and that means that they need to be held responsible.
The third common way that your attorney is going to try to prove fault is by looking at police reports. Most police reports in states where fault can be established are going to cite the course of the accident, any information that they attain when they come. They will also try to establish fault in the report so that they can file it and so that if there is any criminal fault, that can be taken care of as well.
There are other instances in which fault can be established but that is the main reason that most lawyers cite. If the lawyer finds that the other driver was drunk, if they were driving in a manner that put themselves and other drivers in danger. Your lawyer is going to try to create a clear and concise narrative about what happened and to prove without a doubt that the other driver is at fault for the accident, not you.
What Sort of Settlement Can you Get?
There are a range of damages that you can get for an at fault accident that can help you recover and that can help you eventually get back on the road. The first thing that you can sue the other driver and their insurance for is your medical bills. This is going to be any medical bills that have to do with the accident and with your recovery after the accident.
This is going to be something that needs to be established by the medical staff that takes care of you immediately following the accident as well as any support staff that is going to be working on you after the fact during your recovery. This portion of the settlement is going to be a lump sum that is a rough estimate of what you are going to owe rather than an exact amount as you might need more care, later on, that does have to do with the accident and the injuries that you sustained from it.
In terms of the settlement, you can also get money for the deductible to get your car covered with your own insurance or you can get their insurance to pay for your vehicle in full. This can be for the damages to have them repaired to the condition that the vehicle was in before the accident, or it can be to fully replace the vehicle if it is too damaged to repair it. These damages are going to be a set amount as well based on the value of the vehicle and the amount of damage that was done to it when the accident occurred.
The last thing you can get compensation for is pain and suffering and time off of work that you have to take. If you are going to be off of work for several weeks recovering, the money that you get from your settlement can be used to help pay any bills that you have and any money that you need to then use for things like sustaining your household. These settlements do vary based on how bad the accident is, how much damage is done, and how badly you are injured.
Your lawyer is going to really fight for you and fight to help you get the best settlement possible so that you can start to recover and so that you can work through your healing and toward getting better and getting back on the road.
When to Hire a Lawyer?
When you do get into an accident, it is always best to start working toward a settlement and to contact a lawyer. After you get the immediate help that you need, you then need to contact a lawyer so that you can start to build a case and start to build an argument in your favor. They are going to be able to help build a timeline of the accident, they are going to be able to help figure out what happened and create a clear story of what happened so that you can focus on getting the settlement that you need.
They will first contact the police officers that were on scene to figure out what happened and to get the accident report. They may also contact witnesses that were there and that saw the accident.
They will contact anyone that might be able to tell what sort of injuries or treatment that you needed, and so on. They will work to make sure that there is a clear story of what happened so that the other person’s insurance company cannot argue that you were the cause of the accident.
With a lawyer, you are going to have someone on your side that is actually going to be fighting for you and fighting for you to get a settlement that you need so that you can take the time off work so that you can rest and recover. A great lawyer is going to be an ally for you that can help you get a settlement that is going to work for you and that is going to help you recover and help you have the money that you need to be able to stay home and get better.
With those that are dealing with a car accident, it is always better to take the time to get a great lawyer that is going to work for you and that is going to be on your side and help you. Car accidents are trying and troubling, with the help of a great lawyer you can make it through and you can start to recover and put your accident behind you so that you can feel better and get better as well.
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