How to Dispute Fault in a Car Accident

Posted On June 24, 2020 Car Accidents Written by John Allen Phebus

Fault in a car accident refers to the person or party responsible for causing the vehicle collision. In fault-based states, including Arizona, it is necessary to determine fault before filing an insurance claim. The at-fault party will be the person whose insurance must pay for victims’ damages. If someone is alleging your fault for a car accident in Arizona, work with an attorney to avoid your insurance premiums increasing. An auto accident lawyer could help you dispute the claim and prove someone else’s negligence, if possible.

How Is Fault Determined?

Each driver in Arizona must carry certain amounts of automobile insurance. These amounts are $15,000 per person and $30,000 per collision in bodily injury coverage, as well as a minimum of $10,000 in property damage liability insurance. The auto insurance of the at-fault party will cover the damages of those injured, including medical bills and vehicle repairs. The at-fault party will only receive coverage for his or her injuries if the driver has additional insurance, such as collision or comprehensive insurance.

Determining fault is not an easy task after a car accident. An insurance company will determine fault based on the facts of the case. The insurer will assign a claims adjuster to investigate. The goal of the insurance company will be to establish who breached a duty of care and caused the accident. The adjuster will return to the scene of the crash, talk to eyewitnesses, gather police reports and take other steps to determine who or what caused the wreck. The adjuster will then suggest to the insurance company whether to accept or deny the client’s claim based on its determination of fault.

Disputing Fault in the Accident

It is normal for neither driver in a crash to admit fault at the scene of the accident. All insurance companies advise their clients not to confess fault. Do not worry if the other person refuses to say he or she caused the accident. Instead, gather information about the crash, remain polite and contact a Glendale car accident lawyer. The evidence and information you gather about your accident could help you dispute allegations of fault.

  • Police reports
  • Official photographs
  • Photos and videos you took of the crash scene
  • Statements from eyewitnesses
  • Medical records and documents
  • X-rays and test results

A police report or even an insurance company’s decision is not the final word on fault for your car accident claim. You may have the ability to dispute fault depending on the factors of your case. If you or a car accident lawyer disagrees with a fault determination, you have the right to reply to the insurance company with your belief.

Your car accident attorney can help you argue with an insurance company’s decision and negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. It may take simply disagreeing with the insurance company in writing to reopen the investigation. It may also take steps such as arguing a related traffic charge brought against you, such as for drunk driving or speeding. It is important to know your rights while disputing fault for a car accident for the best odds of successfully convincing the insurance company to revise its decision.

Fault Laws in Arizona

In many cases, disputing an insurance company’s decision can at least result in partial compensation for damages. Arizona uses a pure comparative negligence rule during auto accident cases. This rule states that a claimant’s partial responsibility for the accident will not bar him or her from recovery. Instead, the courts will take his or her percentage into account and reduce the settlement award by a proportionate amount.

If your dispute of fault results in a percentage of fault going to the other driver, you could recover compensation for your damages. The insurance company may reduce your recovery by your percentage of fault, however, up to 50%. This is the same strategy the courts would use if your car accident case went to trial. An experienced and aggressive car accident attorney in Arizona could help you protect your right to financial compensation during insurance settlement negotiations. If negotiations fail, your lawyer may be able to take your case to trial instead.