In cases involving personal injury law, it is not unusual for clients and witnesses to display a level of confusion regarding insurance-related issues
In cases involving personal injury law, it is not unusual for clients and witnesses to display a level of confusion regarding insurance-related issues. Even seasoned attorneys who specialize in representing clients in cases involving motor vehicle collisions still need to do their homework in order to comprehend the various possible sources of fault. Eyewitness accounts can be contradictory, and victims of car accidents frequently have hazy memories of the events that took place.
Who was at fault for the accident is a factor that determines whether or not an insurance company will pay, as well as whose insurance company will pay; however, how is fault assigned in such a situation?
When it comes to determining who is responsible for paying damages following a car accident, Arizona is what’s known as an “at-fault” state. One of the many ways that fault can be identified is through the decision made by the insurance companies regarding who was at fault in an accident. There is no guarantee that insurance companies will show compassion toward customers who are paying premiums. When an insurer is more concerned with safeguarding their financial position, you will frequently find that your claim is unfairly undervalued.
What to Do After a Car Accident
If you have already been involved in an accident, many of these items may seem irrelevant to you, but you should still keep them in mind.
Do not flee the scene of the accident; instead, make sure that you and your passengers are safe and that your vehicle is out of the way of any potential threats by pulling off the road and away from oncoming traffic. Then, dial 911. If your vehicle becomes disabled, you should immediately get to a safe location and provide first aid if it is required. Attend the arrival of the First Responders. This is the point at which the police will make their initial contact with you.
Keep your composure: In spite of the fact that the accident will undoubtedly cause a surge of adrenaline as your “fight or flight” reflexes kick in, you must remain calm in the face of the situation. Do not acknowledge any responsibility for the accident. Accidents tend to cause people to panic, which leads to them making mistakes like assuming responsibility for what happened in the accident. At the same time that law enforcement is gathering information, they will start documenting what occurred, interviewing the parties involved, and frequently making a decision as to who was at fault at the scene itself.
Keep a record of everything: Exchange information about your insurance with the other driver (or drivers). Using your smartphone to take pictures of the other person’s insurance card is a good way to accomplish this. Finding a pen and paper in your car is a much more difficult task than using this method, which is also much more reliable. Gather the contact information of any witnesses as well as first responders, and don’t forget to take a lot of pictures of the vehicles and the area where the accident occurred.
In spite of the fact that you do not believe your injuries are particularly serious, you should seek medical attention because the rush of adrenaline may cause you to miss a variety of problems. In the event that you suffer from anything from broken bones and internal bleeding to traumatic brain injuries, you should seek the advice of a medical professional immediately. Proceed to the emergency room and allow the doctors there to examine you.
Carry on with the treatment: Follow the treatment plan that your doctor has outlined for you in the event that your injuries require medical attention, surgery, rehabilitation, or mental health counseling due to post-traumatic stress. If it is at all possible, keep copies of your receipts, bills, and even time missed from work. All of this information might come in handy later on when calculating the amount of damages.
Get in touch with a lawyer: You have other concerns to deal with, such as your health and recovery, and an attorney can relieve you of a lot of that stress and confusion as you begin the process of healing. The process of dealing with insurance companies, law enforcement, and the negotiation process is not simple, and you have other concerns to deal with, such as your health and recovery.
How Is Fault Determined?: The insurance company
After a car crash, determining who was at fault can be complicated for a number of reasons.
Those Involved in The Accident Determine Fault
When it is crystal clear who was at fault for an accident, both drivers may freely admit their fault while exchanging information with one another. This is dangerous because you might not be in a state of mind that allows you to think clearly, and you might end up taking responsibility for something that wasn’t your fault if you do it while you’re in that state.
Law Enforcement Decides
When the police arrive at the scene of the accident, the first thing they do is conduct an investigation. During this process, they take photographs that can be used as evidence, make measurements of things like skid marks to determine the speed of the vehicles just before the collision and collect witness statements. The use of this information can help determine who was at fault in the incident.
However, law enforcement officers do make mistakes just like everyone else. They aren’t perfect, and there are times when their interpretation of the events isn’t in line with reality. It is for this reason that an attorney is helpful in taking that evidence and speaking with their client in order to piece together the story in order to assist in determining fault.
Insurance Companies Decide Fault
The insurance companies that insured the vehicles that were involved in the accident have access to the same evidence that the police have gathered after their investigation. To determine fault on the basis of protecting their bottom line is in their best interests (especially in regard to keeping their costs as low as possible). In order to come to these conclusions, they look at a variety of sources, such as police reports, actuarial tables, algorithms, and more. You won’t have much of a say in the way that many of these factors are considered because those discussions will take place behind closed doors.
When determining who was at fault in an accident and how much compensation should be paid out, insurance companies frequently use mathematical models. They do this to save time and money in order to provide rapid payouts, which may or may not be sufficient to cover the damages you incurred. The severity of your injuries will determine, among other things, how much your medical bills and other damages will go up in the coming days and weeks. Once you have accepted a settlement amount, there is no longer any possibility of receiving additional funds.
You don’t want an insurance company to have this much control, especially if their decision puts you at risk of not getting paid for the damages you incurred. An attorney can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to reach a settlement that adequately compensates you for the harm you’ve suffered. Fighting with insurance companies that are attempting to pay the bare minimum, if at all possible, makes up a significant portion of the process of determining fault and compensation. If the insurance companies are unable to decide who was at fault, the matter may be referred to an arbitration company.
An arbitrator is a neutral third party who decides who was at fault for an accident after listening to both sides of the argument, considering the evidence, and considering both sides’ points of view. They are also responsible for deciding how much money will be paid out for damages. Since a jury trial can be a time-consuming, stressful, and expensive process, it is common practice to use an arbitrator so that the process can be completed more quickly. Evidence may be presented in arbitration without the need to retain the services of an expert witness to provide testimonies regarding what constitutes evidence, such as medical bills and other expenses.
You will maintain a significant amount of leverage and control over the situation if you opt for arbitration. Arbitrators typically have previous experience in the legal system, having worked as attorneys, judges, or in other capacities serving in the court system. After hearing both sides of the argument, the arbitrator will make a decision, and that decision will be final and not subject to appeal. You do not need an attorney to do this, but it is strongly recommended that you get one because an attorney will have a better understanding of your rights and how much you stand to gain or lose in the arbitration process.
Fault Is Determined Through the Court System
In the extremely unlikely event that an auto accident case goes to trial, the judge will present the evidence, and the jury will deliberate and decide the outcome of the case. The verdict includes a determination of who is at fault as well as the amount and recipient of any damages that are to be paid out.
Even though it doesn’t happen very often, going to trial can be a very complicated process. Going to court is a stressful experience that an attorney should handle. This includes the hiring of expert witnesses, the issuing of subpoenas to lay witnesses, the gathering of public records, setting trial dates, and dealing with the selection of jurors. However, there are circumstances in which going to court to have your case tried in front of a jury would be beneficial to you, and an attorney can assist you in deciding whether or not to pursue this course of action.
Here Is What Is at Stake
Automobile collisions are fleeting moments in our lives that, in some cases, we will have to learn to accept for the rest of our days. As you deal with the aftermath of an accident, you will become familiar with a number of terms that, at some point, you might find yourself wishing you hadn’t learned. The term “damages” refers to the type of issue that arises most frequently.
The damages cover a wide range of aspects of your life, all of which will require monetary compensation in order to make any attempt at repair.
You can get your life back on track and the compensation you deserve by successfully arguing your case in court. This will allow you to get back on track with your life.
Repair or replacement: If your vehicle has been in an accident, it will need to be repaired so that any visible damage can be fixed. These costs can add up to a significant amount. Suppose the accident rendered your vehicle completely inoperable. In that case, you may be looking at the possibility of a total loss, in which case you will require a replacement value for your vehicle. If you don’t have a vehicle, it could hurt your chances of finding work, limit your ability to move around freely and have a negative impact on the quality of your life.
Expenses for medical care: In the course of your recovery, you will rack up a significant amount of medical expenses. These expenses will include things like the ambulance ride to the emergency room, tests, X-rays, MRI or CT scans, surgeries, rehabilitation, and pain management. If you were hurt in a car accident, you are going to need a significant amount of compensation to pay for all of your medical bills and other costs.
Coping with the effects of trauma: Injuries such as those that cause traumatic brain injuries or whiplash can develop into chronic conditions, which can impair your cognitive abilities and even cause you to suffer from chronic pain for the rest of your life. Internal damage could affect your health, resulting in damaged organs such as your liver, lungs, or spleen, which could be life-threatening or debilitating. Automobile collisions have the potential to compromise both a person’s reproductive health and their quality of life. Automobile collisions frequently result in severe injuries for the victims, including partial or complete paralysis, disfigurement, loss of hearing or vision, and even the need for skin grafts due to severe burns or abrasions.
Recovery: The necessary surgeries to repair your body will only help with your body’s physical recovery. A significant number of people who are fortunate enough to survive car accidents must additionally contend with the psychological damage caused by the collisions. Depression, anxiety, and other mental conditions that can result from these conditions can have a lifelong impact on a person’s ability to function normally and deal with the challenges of daily life. A person’s ability to keep and maintain gainful employment or even to return to the road in a vehicle again after experiencing mental trauma can be negatively impacted.
When you are involved in a car accident, you run the risk of suffering a number of losses, including having to deal with injuries and even having your life cut short or becoming permanently disabled. Although it may be difficult to put a price on your pain and suffering, an insurance company will attempt to do so anyway. To ensure that you receive the best possible outcome from a decision or settlement, you should seek the assistance of an attorney.
Lost time at work: The injuries and recovery can affect a person’s ability to work, not only from missed time at work due to surgeries and hospitalization but also due to the results of the recovery process, rehabilitation, and even vocational re-training. This lost time at work can be a result of both the injuries and the recovery process. A person could be on the verge of monetary ruin as a result of a car accident if they spend a lot of time at work and have mounting medical expenses.