Determining Who is at Fault

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After a car accident you may wonder who is at fault. As you might guess, some cases are easier than others to determine who is at fault.  Even if you think you may think that the car accident is your fault, you may be entitled to benefits for your injuries.  Each case is different based on detailed facts including weather, inattentive driving, auto malfunction, and other circumstances which may not be obvious to you at the time of the accident.  An attorney can help you determine who is at fault and can offer you advice on how to proceed.

Protecting Yourself from Fault

Generally speaking, if a traffic citation was issued to one driver, that driver will likely be found to be at fault. If a person receives a ticket for speeding, and the other driver receives one for failing to yield, then both will be found to be at fault. (See also Traffic Tickets and Accident Fault).  Sometimes people say things right after an accident like “I’m so sorry, the car accident was my fault. “I wasn’t paying attention. “ “I was on the phone.” Use caution when you speak to the other driver so you do not admit fault at the scene.  If you have a witness to the other driver’s admission, it will be easier to prove fault later if the matter if either party brings a claim.


Sometimes, there is no witness, and one person will say he had a green light and the other person will say she had the green light.  If there are no witnesses, it comes down to credibility and which person a jury is more likely to believe.  An attorney will look at both parties and try to determine who the jury is more likely to believe.  The insurance company will do the same when determining fault auto accidents.  If one party appears to be clearly more credible than the other, the attorney representing that party knows he has a stronger case and will push for a better settlement.

Claims with Unclear Liability

Cases where liability cannot be determined are less likely to settle because each party is going to blame and expect the other to pay for the damages.  When one party is clearly at fault, or perhaps, more likely to be at fault, it is easier for the insurance company to settle on automobile insurance claims.