Car accidents can be physically, emotionally and financially damaging. After an auto accident, insurance companies need to discern who is at fault, as this will determine who is awarded damages and how much compensation each party receives. Understanding how insurance companies determine liability can help you to avoid paying unnecessary damages.
Insurance companies are in the business of making money. Whether you are at fault for an accident or the other party is responsible, both insurance companies’ top concern is paying as little compensation as possible.
How Is Fault Determined?
In general, insurance companies determine fault based on the state’s legal definition of negligence.
Under New Jersey law, negligence is defined as “a party’s failure to act as a reasonable person would, or failure to exercise the “degree of care for the safety of others” which a “person of ordinary prudence” would exercise under “similar circumstances.”
How To Protect Yourself From Auto Accident Liability
File a police report. A police report plays a key role in helping insurance adjusters determine what happened. Law enforcement’s official version of what transpired is considered more reliable than the versions of those involved which often conflict with one another and reflect personal biases.
Do not admit fault at the scene. Be honest and state the facts about what happened, but avoid saying things like “I’m sorry,” or “this was my fault.” Even if you think you’re at fault, the cause of your accident may be something you’re unaware of, like a driver who suddenly swerved into another lane, causing a chain reaction that led to your accident. Let the authorities and insurance companies objectively determine who was liable for the accident.
Gather evidence. The evidence you gather at the scene of an accident can help insurers calculate the degree of fault. Take photos, detailed notes and gather information from other drivers and witnesses. This will help to support your case and give insurers the information they need to determine who was at fault.
Our Experienced Auto Accident Liability Attorneys In New Jersey Can Help
If you have been involved in a car accident and are unsure about the next steps you should take, the experienced auto accident liability attorneys at Gold, Albanese, Barletti & Locascio, LLC, can assess your case and advise you on the best course of action to take. Contact us at 732-936-9901 today.