Determining Auto Accident Negligence - What Can Be Used Against You

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If you are in a car accident that does not seem as though it was caused by you or the other driver, then you may think that you are off the hook when it comes to paying for injuries or vehicle damages. While this seems as though it makes sense, there is a possibility that you may be sued by the other driver for injuries. Sometimes, you may actually be found liable for the expenses. If this seems confusing to you, then keep reading to find out more about what types of things may be used to determine that you were negligent, even though this is not clear to you.

Police Reports

Some states, like New Hampshire and Massachusetts, require you to call the police after a vehicle accident if damage to one or both vehicles exceeds about $1,000. Also, you need to contact the police if an injury occurred. If you do leave the accident scene without calling the police, you can be charged with a misdemeanor hit and run. This may require you to pay extensive fines. It is often hard to tell if damages exceed $1,000 so it is best to call the police whenever a car accident occurs. This is true especially if you have little knowledge about the accident laws in your state. If the police do not need to come out to the scene, like in the case of a very minor fender bender, then they will tell you this over the phone.

When the police arrive, they will create an accident report. The report will include witness accounts as well as driver statements and photographs. When gathering evidence, the officer may issue citations based on information provided. For example, if a witness saw you speeding down the road and you also admitted to speeding yourself, then you may be given a ticket for speeding. 

Citations may be provided to both you and the driver or you alone. Also, the police officer has the option of making a statement about who he feels is at fault for the incident. While this statement is not one that will leave you legally responsible for the damages caused by the accident, it may be used as evidence by the other driver's insurance company to claim that you were negligent. Oftentimes, officers will not guess as to who caused the accident unless it is immediately clear. However, information from the accident report can be used against you if you are sued. This is why it is wise to stay calm and to state all facts clearly when talking to the police to make sure your account is as accurate and complete as possible.

Adjustor Investigation Paperwork

If you ever need to file an accident report with your insurance company, then this report will be handled by an individual called an adjustor. This person is the investigative lead assigned by your insurance company to determine the facts of the accident. The adjustor will then determine the settlement amount that both you and the other driver will receive.

Insurance adjustors will typically come up with a percentage of fault that is assigned to you and the other driver. This percentage is based on how negligent you and the driver both were when the accident took place. Insurance employees will use legal standards when considering negligence. In general, negligence is when you fail to act in a careful, controlled, and reasonable manner when compared to another driver. 

An adjustor from your insurance company as well as one from the other driver's insurance company will be assigned to the accident case, and the professionals will work together to determine fault percentages. Fault is determined by evidence, and the adjustor reports can be used to sue you in court if damages are extensive and your insurance company is not willing to provide the other driver with a settlement that is satisfactory to them. For more information, contact a law office like Knafo Law Offices.