If you have been involved in an auto accident and police have deemed the other driver to be at fault, you probably have been given the driver's auto insurance information. If everything goes as it should, once you contact the other driver's insurance provider, the company will pay for your vehicle, as well as any injuries you may have incurred. But do you realize they do not have to do this? They can deny your claim, or pay part of it, but not all of it. The officer's finding of fault may not even hold up in court. Luckily, there are some other steps you can take in this situation.
Understanding Who Determines Fault
Most of the time, a police officer is called to the scene of the accident after it happens. Once they arrive on the scene, they are expected to quickly write a report. Unless they were physically able to see the accident occur, the officer is dependent on several factors to collect information. They are:
- Yours, as well as the other driver's account of the accident
- Eyewitness statements
- Physical damage to the vehicles
- Evidenced collected from the scene of the accident
Based on this information, they will often assign fault from the accident to the party they feel was negligent in causing it. Depending on the accident, as well as the amount of damage, the officer may also issue a citation citing the negligent driver for their actions.
If the driver who is found to be negligent disagrees with the opinion of the officer, they may choose to fight this opinion in court. The officer's assignment of negligence does not always stand up in court. Once the case reaches the court, the court will have the final say as to who was negligent, as well as who should pay for any damages.
File Your Own Insurance
If you have any difficulty dealing with another person's insurance company, you can file your accident with your own insurance company. Although this will mean you will have to pay whatever deductible you have on your policy, it will get your vehicle repaired and your medical bills paid.
Once the other driver is determined by the court to be at fault, and the court orders that driver to cover the cost of the accident, your insurance company will attempt to recover the money they have paid out from the other insurance company. They will also attempt to recover any money you have had to pay out of your pocket such as your deductible. These monies will be refunded to you.
Dealing with insurance companies is no easy task and can sometimes be quite confusing. You can avoid this headache by hiring a personal injury lawyer as soon as your accident occurs. For more information, contact Geoffrey S. Gulinson & Associates PC or a similar firm.