How fault is determined after a car accident
While driving to work, you come up to a busy intersection. The light turns red and you slow to a stop. However, the car behind you doesn’t slow down and hits you from behind. Your car suffers some damage and you have a little whiplash but nothing too serious. When filing the claim with your insurance company, you expect the driver of the other car will be at fault. However, you are shocked to learn that you and the other driver share equal fault of the car accident. How is this possible? Who gets to decide fault?
Surprisingly, discovering fault in a car accident is a rather tricky matter, even in the above case. The police are not the ones who make the determination; it’s generally the decision of the insurance companies. What your insurance will do is take a look at the police report and see if there was any mentions of negligence as well as any witness statements. But nine times out of 10, the fault is generally the opinion of the insurance company and that opinion is not necessarily objective.
However, there are a couple of instances that fault can be assigned without question (of course there are exceptions to these accidents as well):
- Rear end crashes – generally, the person who hit the car is the one at fault.
- Left turn crashes – the fault is usually the person making the turn because it’s considered an unsafe turn.
So what if you were found equally at fault for your car accident? Can you still claim damages? New Jersey is a 51% Proportional Comparative Fault state. This means if both parties are to blame for the accident equally, then both are eligible for damages.
Did you get into a car accident and have to fight with the insurance company? Then you need the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, PC on your side. For over 25 years, personal injury lawyer Anthony Carbone has been fighting for the rights of people living in Jersey City, Newark, and surrounding counties. Contact us today for a free consultation.