Updated May 17, 2022
Car accidents happen in an instant. Collisions can be frightening in the moment, especially since they are never expected and seem to send your whole day– and world– into disarray. If you’re involved in a crash, it may seem obvious to you what happened and maybe that it was even your fault. If the crash doesn’t seem that bad, you might be tempted to leave the scene as soon as possible to get on with your day. To admit fault may seem like the best option in the moment.
Car accidents can have lasting effects, whether that be financial change, an injury, or pain and suffering. A common reaction after a car accident is for people to apologize and admit fault that the collision was their fault. Even if it seems like a reasonable decision at the scene, admitting fault can contribute to lasting effects that disrupt your life and insurance in the long run.
Even if the accident does seem like your fault, never admit fault after you have been involved in a car accident. Admitting fault puts you at risk to not receive any compensation that you may have otherwise been entitled to. Since Indiana is an at-fault state, you may still be able to receive certain amounts of compensation even if you are partially at fault. However, admitting fault in a car accident threatens your chances of having a justified case.
You should not admit fault at the scene or following the incident until speaking with a car accident attorney. If you admit fault, insurance companies have legal responsibilities to cover damages. Your own insurance will have to pay for the damages to your and the other party’s property. Keep in mind that the other party’s insurance company will want you to admit fault so that the responsibility will fall on you.
Being under pressure after a car accident is common. A lot is happening around you, and admitting fault may seem like the best, most reasonable, most responsible thing to do. Yet, the most important thing to do after a car accident is to not admit fault. Doing so may lead to increased insurance and reducing your chances of compensation. In order to avoid admitting fault in a car accident, some actionable steps you can take are:
Indiana has tort law liability auto insurance. Also known as at-fault insurance, damages are paid depending on each person’s degree of fault. A certain percentage of fault is determined for each person involved in the accident. If you admit fault, you are providing evidence for the other party of being at fault in a car accident, meaning you may not be able to get the full compensation you deserve.
Emotions run high when an accident occurs. The other party may place blame on you repeatedly. The important thing to do is just let them talk. They can continue to blame you, but unless they provide evidence to an insurance company or in court (if it comes to that), you cannot be blamed. There must be proven evidence of your negligence that caused the collision.
When faced in a difficult situation with aggravated and intense emotions and responses, you never know how the other person in the situation will act. Even if they continue to place blame on you throughout your case, stand firm in your denial. Your car accident lawyer will review the case and create a defense. Again, even if the accident seems like your fault upfront, there may be evidence of other influencing factors that you did not have control over. Let them continue to place blame, and wait until the court decides the outcome.
What happens when no one admits fault in a car accident? You certainly do not want to admit fault, yet with the other driver not admitting fault either, what happens next?
When you do get into a car accident, you will have to make a claim with your insurance agent or the other party will file a claim against you.
When an accident is claimed, it is common that the insurance adjuster on the case is the person to determine fault. The adjusters investigate the car accident and may consult the police. That is why it is important to not admit fault to the police officer either, given that what you say will most likely end up on a police report. In some cases, police officers may determine fault based on their observations at the scene of the accident. This is typical in cases where serious injury or death has occurred.
One of the most important parts of insurance investigations is the nuanced factors that may have contributed to the accident. A deeper investigation may reveal factors such as bad road/construction conditions, mechanical issues, the actions the other driver was taking during the time of the accident (texting, eating, or other forms of distracted driving), failure to yield, or an array of other factors specific to your specific accident and case. Obscure evidence may help to determine the amount of fault.
When an insurance adjuster investigates a car accident, they may look over the following:
When being asked questions by an insurance investigator, it is recommended to have your lawyer present. An experienced car accident attorney can navigate the insurance adjustor’s questions. Insurance companies want to pay out as little as possible and may ask some tricky questions. It is always a good idea to have legal representation to make sure all questions are being answered in a way that does not compromise any potential compensation.
When you are partially at fault in a car accident, you can still file a settlement, but you may get a reduced settlement payout. Your insurance will also cover the amount of damages that you are found at fault for. Compensation is reduced for the one who is at fault in the car accident. In Indiana, you can still get compensation if you are partially at fault. However, it is based on the amount you are considered for being at fault in a car accident. In Indiana, if you are found 51 percent at fault or more, you cannot recover compensation.
When in a car accident, you or the other party will send a demand letter to the opposing party. Insurance companies will usually present a payment amount or denial. Both the insurance company and your attorney negotiate the amount of fault of the involved parties. When working with an experienced car accident attorney, you can file a personal injury lawsuit if you disagree with the settlement amount.
The car accident settlement process, more often than not, results in compensation and a legal agreement of payouts. However, if one or both parties do not agree with the negotiations, the settlement can become a lawsuit. If the case moves to a court, then a trial will take place. In this case, a jury will be presented evidence and determine fault. A settlement can still be negotiated during the trial if an agreement is made.
In Indiana, all drivers must have a minimum liability coverage of $25,000-$50,000 in bodily injury as well as $10,000 in property damages. These minimum accepted liability amounts are implemented to cover damages if you are at fault in a car accident.
Damages to your own vehicle or other property would not be covered under liability insurance. Other collision cover policies are available with different car insurance rates. Indiana also has laws established concerning underinsured or uninsured drivers.
Comparative fault is based on percentages that each party is found for being at fault in a car accident. Let’s say Driver A and Driver B get into a car accident. It is determined that both parties are found at fault: Driver A is found 80% at fault whereas Driver B is found 20% at fault.
Comparative fault payouts are determined based on the amount of fault multiplied by the amount of damages. If the total for potential damages is $20,000 then Driver A would pay $16,000 in the settlement amount to cover damages since they are found 80% at fault.
As a reminder, if an Indiana driver is found 51 percent at fault or more, that driver is not able to recover damages.
As a driver in Indiana, if you have been in an auto collision, you must be able to demonstrate that you are financially responsible. Having an Indiana vehicle insurance policy proves that since your insurance company can provide your payment records to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, contact the experienced lawyers at Wilson Kehoe Winingham today. The lawyers at WKW are seasoned in negotiating with insurance adjustors. We can help you negotiate car accident claims. Call us at 317.576.3859 or fill out an online form for a free case evaluation today.
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