Wrecked car covered in snow

What Determines Liability in a Car Accident?

Most states follow “at-fault” insurance laws, which means the liable driver (and their insurance company) are responsible for paying damages to the other party after an accident.

There are several ways to determine liability in a car accident and protect your rights.

Calculating Car Accident Liability

Most insurance companies determine liability in a car accident depending on the state’s legal definition of negligence.

In general, states may consider the following forms of negligence during this process:

  • Comparative negligence: This determines how much each driver was at-fault for an accident in a percentage format. The damages that each party can recover depend on the percentage they receive.

  • Modified comparative negligence: This limits your ability to file a claim through another driver’s insurance company. Sometimes, you may only recover compensation if you were less than 50% responsible for the accident.

  • Contributory negligence: This allows you to recover compensation only if you were 0% responsible for the accident (such as your car getting hit while parked).

Protecting Your Rights After a Car Crash

There are two main elements to protecting yourself after a car crash: gathering evidence and not admitting fault.

Important evidence to gather at the accident scene include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • A copy of the police report

  • Photos of physical damage and injuries

  • Medical records that explain your treatment

  • Contact and insurance information of the other driver and any witnesses

  • Footage from nearby traffic or security cameras

Aside from collecting evidence, it’s important to remember not to apologize after an accident. While it may seem like a natural thing to do, it could jeopardize your accident claim in the future.

Involved in a Car Accident? Contact Us Today

If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident caused by another’s negligence, we’re here to help. At Pearson Butler, we have extensive experience protecting the rights of the injured and the wronged, and we’re here to fight for you, too.

Contact us today at (800) 265-2314 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.