How Do You Decide Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident?

February 7, 2024

One of the most important considerations after a crash is how to prove who is at fault in a car accident. Some collisions seem like genuine accidents, which can make it hard to identify who was responsible. Regardless of why the crash occurred, one driver is always deemed to be at fault.

Fault for a car crash directly determines which driver’s insurance company has to pay for a crash. For most drivers, fault can significantly impact accident expenses and insurance rates. If you’ve been involved in a crash, it’s a good idea to have a clear understanding of how fault is determined and how to protect your finances.

How Car Accident Fault Is Determined and Why It Matters

Fault Impacts Compensation

Fault is usually determined by the police officer who reports to the accident scene. The officer examines the scenes, speaks with both drivers and any witnesses, and writes up a report. It’s also common for the responding officer to write a ticket to the driver they deem to be at fault.

Examples of common factors an officer uses to determine fault include:

  • Speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Cell phone use
  • Running a red light or stop sign
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Police reports are typically requested by both drivers’ insurance companies during the claims process. However, the police report isn’t the only factor that insurance companies consider when deciding whose policy should pay for the crash.

Regardless of what the police report says, there’s one element that can have an even more powerful impact on the decision your insurance company makes — what you have to say about the accident and your injuries.

Saying the wrong thing to an insurance representative can be a costly mistake. That’s why you should always allow an experienced car accident lawyer to handle your claim.

How a Car Accident Attorney Helps Prove Fault

Fighting to Protect Your Finances

Performing an independent investigation is essential in order to determine exactly what caused the accident, and who is responsible. At Wapner Newman, our experienced Philadelphia auto accident attorneys work with investigators, expert witnesses, and engineering specialists to reconstruct your accident and gather the evidence you need to prove the other party’s negligence. The types of evidence your attorney might use in determining fault after a car accident include:

  • Police and accident reports
  • Traffic cam footage
  • Surveillance footage
  • Witness statements
  • Testimony from accident reconstruction experts.

The strength of the evidence is always key when determining how to decide who is at fault in a car accident. The stronger the evidence, the better. In the face of weak or absent evidence, an insurance company or defendant can avoid paying what they owe.

Our lawyers will also consider whether any other party can be held liable for the crash, such as a mechanic who did faulty work on your vehicle. Our attorneys will consider every possible option for proving you weren’t at fault for the crash.

Involved in a car crash in Pennsylvania or New Jersey? Call Wapner Newman at (215) 569-0900 and learn how our car accident lawyers can help.

Frequently Asked Questions

Car accidents produce many questions. Here are some of the most common questions the experienced accident lawyers at Wapner Newman answer.

Should I call a car accident lawyer before or after I call the insurance company?

You should always consult a lawyer before you speak with an insurance representative. What you say to an insurance adjuster can negatively impact how fault is determined in the crash.

Is it necessary to see a doctor if I wasn’t injured in the car accident?

You should always see a doctor after a car crash, even if you think you weren’t injured. Many types of car accident injuries have delayed symptoms. Failing to see a doctor makes it harder to prove that the accident was the source of your injuries.

Do I need to call the police if the car accident was minor?

You should always call the police after any car crash. Having an official police report helps your insurance claim and protects you from false claims by the other driver.

How much does a car accident lawyer charge?

The car accident lawyers at Wapner Newman work on contingency. We only charge you if we win your case, and our payment comes directly from the compensation we win for you.

You can receive answers to additional questions by attending a free consultation with a car accident lawyer.

Speak With a Car Accident Attorney Today

If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, the skilled car accident attorneys at Wapner Newman may be able to help you recover the compensation you need. We have a track record of impressive car accident case results and are ready to fight for you.

Call Wapner Newman today at (215) 569-0900 to schedule your free consultation with an experienced lawyer.