Who is At Fault in a Car Accident

Car accident who is at fault


In order to understand how to determine fault in a car accident, you must first understand the laws relating to fault in your state. Does your state require a determination of fault in assessing liability?

Some states have what is called a “no-fault” system. In a no-fault system, car insurance laws require every driver involved in an accident to file a claim with their own insurance company, irrespective of who is at fault in the accident. The state of Washington is a “comparative fault” state.

This means that liability has to be determined and apportioned before any payouts are made. The parties involved in an accident may not agree over what happened exactly.

Who caused the accident? Who was more at fault? How much insurance coverage did each side have? The answers to these questions help to determine liability and payouts for both sides. It is best to speak to a car accident attorney to help best calculate what the potential outcomes are in determining liability.

How to Determine Who is At Fault in a Car Accident

Proving fault requires showing of negligence. Many claims that deal with personal injuries that result from car accidents are decided on the legal doctrine of negligence.

In a negligence claim, the plaintiff has the burden to prove that the defendant was at fault for his or her injury. If you are the plaintiff in a negligence claim, you have to prove these four things in order to be successful:

1. The defendant had a legal duty to exercise reasonable care;
2. The defendant did not exercise reasonable care, breaching their duty;
3. The defendant’s failure to exercise reasonable care was the cause of injuries; and
4. Those injuries resulted in money damages.

There are numerous defenses to negligence including comparative fault as described above. Under the comparative fault approach, the fault of each side is weighed and determined based on all the available facts and evidence and a percentage of fault is apportioned to each side.

If a court determines that the plaintiff is 20% at fault in a car accident for instance, then their recovery will be reduced by 20%, and the defendant would only then be liable for 80% of the plaintiff’s medical expenses.

In some accident cases, it’s easy to determine which party is responsible for any damages or injuries that may have occur. In others, determining the at fault party might be more complex, especially if there’s more than two parties involved.

Situations Where Fault is Assumed

There are certain situations where the court will generally assume one driver to be at fault regardless of what the circumstances of the accident are. The types of car accidents where fault can be assumed include:

Rear end accidents

If you rear-end someone, it will usually be deemed your fault since you are always legally supposed to keep a safe distance between you and car in front of you.

The idea here is that even if the car in front of you suddenly stops, you should be following far enough away where you are able to react and avoid an accident. You may be able to overcome this assumption of fault if the person in front of you had brake lights that weren’t working, or you were hit from behind and were pushed into the car in front of you.

Accidents when changing lanes

If you are making a left turn or changing lanes, you are generally responsible to make maneuver safely, allowing the other cars on the road the appropriate right of way.

You may be able to overcome this assumption of fault if the other driver was impaired in any way, was distracted, or was affected by weather conditions.

Running a red light or stop sign

Drivers who run a red light or stop sign are generally assumed to be at fault in a car accident. Drivers who violate traffic laws have a steep hill to overcome in order to push fault on the other driver.

All of the above situations are general in nature. They are not meant to give you an exact diagnosis on who might be at fault in your specific case. The only way to have a general idea who is at fault in a car accident that involves you is to seek the advice of an experienced car accident attorney.

What to Do After You’ve Been Injured in a Car Accident that is Not Your Fault?

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in the state of Washington, you might be wondering what your next step should be. Finding a website such as this can be a great resource, but it is not a substitute for the advice of an experienced car accident attorney. In order to receive the maximum payout for an injury due to a car accident, it is important to put on your strongest case right from the very beginning with someone who understands the best path to victory.

Reasons why you need to contact a personal injury attorney:

1. Accurate case assessment
2. Comprehensive investigation
3. Complete record keeping
4. Negotiation experience

It’s hard enough to negotiate with your own car insurance company. Imagine what it’s like to negotiate with the car insurance company of a stranger.

Sofia’s No Fee Guarantee

Attorney Sofia K. Miguel guarantees that you will never write a check to our office under Sofia’s “no fee guarantee.” Consultations are free and if your case is selected, then Sofia will also cover all court costs during your case.

Sofia only gets paid when you get paid. Her services will cost you nothing out of pocket; simple as that. Let Sofia’s nearly twenty years of experience in helping people recover for their personal injuries get to work for you now.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as the result of a car accident, attorney Sofia Miguel is standing by to answer your questions and help you fight to get the money you deserve.

Call us at 253-200-4471, come visit our office right here in Puyallup at 702 S. Hill Park Dr. #207, or contact us online anytime. We are here for you.

Personal Injury Attorney Puyallup

Sofia K. Miguel, Attorney

Sofia K. Miguel has extensive litigation experience; she has tried or arbitrated hundreds of cases throughout Western Washington. She graduated from Seattle University School of Law in 2000 and has 17 years’ experience representing injured people. She is a member of the Washington State Bar Association and an EAGLE member of the Washington State Association for Justice.

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