How to Tell Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident
How Auto Accident Fault is Determined by Police, Insurance Companies, and the Courts
In Nevada, determining who is at fault for a car accident is typically a matter of pinpointing who was careless, or “negligent”. In some cases, it’s simple to tell which party acted negligently should be held responsible for any property damage or injuries that may have arisen as a result.
Topics covered in this article:
- How The Police Determine Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident
- How The Insurance Companies Determine Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident
- How The Courts Determine Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident
That said, sometimes it can be fairly difficult to determine who was at fault for an accident. To complicate things further, multiple entities might have a say in determining fault after a car accident, including law enforcement agencies, insurance companies, and the courts.
In this article, we will discuss how various entities determine fault after a car accident, and where you can go for help if you have been injured in a car accident.
How The Police Determine Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident
After a car accident is reported to the police department, reporting officers are responsible for preparing a police report outlining the accident details.
A police officer will interview the drivers and any witnesses involved about the car accident, and they will ask a series of questions designed to help paint a clear picture regarding what happened.
Once the police officer decides that he or she has enough information to file their report, they will submit their report for filing.
The police report may also contain a statement about who or what they believe was at fault for the accident based on their professional opinion.
However, it’s important to understand that even if a police report states who is believed to be responsible for the accident, this does not automatically conclude fault for damages in a lawsuit.
As part of a police officer’s initial investigation into the accident, he or she may issue one or more traffic citations.
A traffic citation is issued by a law enforcement officer that holds a driver responsible for violating a traffic law, such as exceeding the speed limit or parking illegally. A traffic citation may also require a driver to make a court appearance. Although a traffic citation will not ultimately prove who is legally responsible for a car accident in a lawsuit following the accident, it can be used as evidence that the driver acted negligently.
How The Insurance Companies Determine Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident
Once a claim is filed with the insurance company following a car accident, the company assigns the claim to an insurance adjustor. The adjustor oversees the investigation of the accident as well as the settlement of the insurance claim. There is typically more than one adjuster assigned to a claim, as each driver’s insurance company will nominate an adjustor to act on their behalf.
Adjustors research the car accident details, speak with witnesses, review medical reports, examine property damage, and verify details about the insurance policies of the drivers involved, such as coverage limits. Ultimately, the adjustors will determine who acted negligently in a car accident, and will often assign a percentage of fault to each party involved.
Typically speaking, insurance companies determine fault based on the legal definition of negligence in Nevada. A person is deemed negligent when he or she fails to exercise the amount of caution a reasonable person would under the same circumstances.
Nevada courts support a legal rule known as modified comparative negligence, which can limit a driver’s ability to file a claim through the other party’s insurance company following a car accident. Under this rule, you can usually only recover your losses if you’re found to be less than 51 percent at fault for the accident.
How The Courts Determine Who Is at Fault in a Car Accident
If you file a lawsuit following a car accident to recover compensation for your injuries or property damage, the Nevada court will determine liability by evaluating whether the defendant acted negligently. As mentioned above, a person is considered “negligent” when he or she fails to take reasonable caution under the circumstances.
In deciding the outcome of your case, the court will consider arguments from the parties’ attorneys, as well as other pieces of evidence presented to them. This may include sworn testimonies from all parties involved in the car accident, police officers who investigated the accident, and other expert witnesses, such as doctors and accident reconstruction professionals.
Not sure who is at fault? Speak with a licensed attorney for free.
A car accident is an exhausting experience. Dealing with the police, insurance companies, and the possibility of a lawsuit can be intimidating. If you have been injured in a car accident and are confused about whether or not you were at fault, a car accident lawyer can help you get a better idea. In addition to providing invaluable information and expert legal advice, they can help preserve your rights and prevent your statements to the police and insurance companies from being used against you.
Call The Injury Firm | Las Vegas today for a free, no-obligation accident case review and discover whether or not you are entitled to financial recovery. Call (702) 800-0988