How is Fault Determined After an Oklahoma City Car Accident?
Often, people think it is the police that determines fault in a car accident. It is not. Instead, it is the insurance company. While officers at the scene may issue citations that are useful when determining fault, the insurance companies of the drivers involved will determine which one is liable for paying compensation.
No insurance company wants to pay out on settlements, however. An insurer’s priority is to keep more of their profits. A seasoned car wreck attorney could explain how fault is determined after an Oklahoma City car accident and help an injured driver or passenger hold a negligent driver’s insurance company accountable.
The Insurance Process for Determining Fault
To determine which driver was at fault for the accident, the insurance companies will consider four elements. The first is the duty of each driver. All motorists have a responsibility to behave in a manner that keeps everyone else on the road safe. The insurance companies will determine if one driver had a duty to yield, if one had a duty to stop, and other considerations.
Once the duty of each driver is established, the insurance companies can then determine which driver breached their duty. The breach of duty is the negligent act of a driver, or a failure to act with proper care. Disobeying traffic signs and signals, speeding, and failing to pay attention to the road are all examples of a breach of duty.
After establishing which driver was negligent in the crash, the insurance companies will then determine if that negligence was the cause of a person’s injury. For example, if a driver had an injured back before their accident, they cannot claim that the accident was the cause of that injury.
Last, the insurance company will determine the amount of damages a person is owed. Damages compensate an injured person for medical bills, lost income, and any other expense or loss resulting from the accident.
The Legal Process for Determining Fault
Although the insurance company will determine fault in an accident and therefore which company is liable for paying compensation, they are not always honest. Insurance companies regularly try to blame the other driver to avoid paying out on large settlements.
While the insurance companies are trying to determine fault, so too, will an attorney. A car accident lawyer in Oklahoma City could use different methods to determine fault, including collecting evidence and using accident reconstruction experts. Attorneys do this to prove that their injured client was not at fault for the accident, and to present evidence to the insurance companies that will back up their claims.
Comparative Fault in Oklahoma
When determining which driver was at fault for an accident, both the insurance companies and the attorneys will consider all drivers involved. Oklahoma is governed by the rule of comparative fault, meaning that if a driver was more than 49 percent at fault for the accident, they are barred from receiving compensation.
When multiple parties are at fault for an accident, the insurance companies will assign each driver a percentage of fault. If a driver is awarded compensation but they were partly to blame for the accident, their compensation is reduced by the same percentage of fault.
Speak to an Oklahoma City Car Accident Attorney Today
If you have been in a car accident that was the fault of someone else and have sustained severe injuries, you may be entitled to compensation. Insurance companies are very reluctant to pay out on these claims, however, and will likely try to blame you, either wholly or partially, for the crash.
Knowing how fault is determined after an Oklahoma City car accident could be crucial to a complainant’s success, which is why it is so important that potential plaintiffs speak to a car accident lawyer as soon as possible after a collision. An attorney could determine who was really at fault for the accident and hold insurance companies responsible for paying a fair settlement. If you are hurt, call our accident attorneys today to get the help you need.