Deciding Who is At-fault for a Collision

Fault is one of the most critical elements in any car accident. The person at fault is the person who typically must pay for the damage caused by his or her negligence. If one driver is cited by the police as at fault that helps in determining fault but it is not always the deciding factor.

If fault is not clear in your case or if there is shared fault then fault is apportioned between the drivers. When fault is shared in an auto accident the insurance adjusters of both insurance companies will attempt to determine the percentages of fault for each driver. There is no set formula for determining percentages of fault in a car accident. If you are negotiating your own settlement you and the claims adjuster will negotiate and come to some agreement as to what extent, if any, you were at fault.

This is a critical determination because any settlement will be adjusted according to your percentage of fault. As an experienced personal injury attorney I can help you in dealing with the insurance adjuster’s determination of at-fault percentages. I know how to assess the accident and advocate for the lowest percentage of fault on your behalf. If an agreement cannot be reached with the insurance adjuster regarding percentage of fault, filing a law suit is ultimately your next step to resolve the issue of fault.

In New Hampshire and Massachusetts the way assigning fault works is that when two people are involved in an accident and the injured party was partially at fault then your settlement would be reduced by the percentage of your fault. For example, if your settlement is for $10,000 and it is determined that you were 10% at fault for the accident then you would only receive $9,000.

If your fault is determined to be more than the other driver’s, in other words anything over 50%, then you would not be able to receive any settlement from the other driver. Negotiating fault can be a critical element in obtaining a full and fair settlement. Never admit any fault to an adjuster.

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