How Do Insurance Companies Determine Who Is At Fault For A Car Accident

How Do Insurance Companies Determine Who Is At Fault For A Car Accident

After a car accident happens in the State of New York, one of the most important things to determine is who is at fault for the accident. If a car accident leads to any serious injury including broken bones, spinal injuries or death, the insurance of the driver who caused the accident will be responsible for paying the damages for the injured party.

But how do the insurance companies determine who is at fault for the accident? Auto insurance companies will use state laws and details of the crash to determine who exactly is at fault for the crash and resulting damages. Let’s take a look at what items are typically evaluated by the insurance companies:

Police Reports

No matter who is at-fault for the accident, it’s always a good idea to file a police report after you’ve been in an accident. The police report is considered to be a good, objective look at the accident in the eyes of insurance companies. The police are experienced in asking the right types of questions that will help insurance to determine fault.

If you have suffered a serious injury after a car accident, the police report will act as evidence and help to support your claim against the opposing party by providing exact details on what occurred including the date and time of the accident, injuries sustained, property damage sustained and driver statements.

Witnesses and Evidence

At the scene of the accident, collecting evidence can be important, especially if you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit against the opposing driver. Taking photographs of damage to your vehicle, your injuries, road defects and placement of vehicles will be extremely important to helping determine fault. Information regarding statements, damages and date of the accident will be included in your police report.

If there are any witnesses to the accident, be sure to collect their contact information, as your insurance company may need their official witness statements to help determine who is at fault for the accident.

State Liability Laws

New York State follows a “no-fault” system for most motor vehicle accidents. Each driver in the State of New York is required to carry a minimum amount of no-fault insurance coverage and their own insurance company will pay for medical expenses and lost wages up to the no-fault policy limit regardless of who is at fault. If a driver has collision coverage, their insurance will pay to repair the vehicle regardless of fault.

In contrast to no-fault, fault comes into play in a claim for personal injuries. In order to obtain a personal injury settlement for pain and suffering, the injured party will need to prove that the other driver is at fault and that they suffered a “serious injury” as a result of the accident. This is a phrase that is defined in New York’s Insurance Law. If the injured party is able to prove that they sustained a “serious injury”, the injured party will be able to make a personal injury claim under New York law. If the injured party also was partly at fault for the car crash, then based on New York’s comparative fault rules, any settlement is reduced by the percentage of fault attributable to that person.

Under New York’s negligence law, an insurance adjuster will consider the circumstances of the accident and the actions of each party leading up the accident including the speed of the car, if traffic laws were being followed, cell phone usage at the time of the accident or other distractions and environmental factors.

If both drivers in the crash are at fault, then the driver will only be able to recover the percentage in which they are not at fault. For example, if the injured driver is found to be 60% at fault, whatever damages that person can collect will be reduced by that same 60%.

What to Do After an Accident

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or has passed away as a result of a car crash, you should seek legal help to evaluate your claims. The dedicated team of attorneys at Cellino Law have decades of experience fighting for those who have been injured as a result of another person’s negligence and have worked to help clients receive the maximum compensation from insurance companies. We are available 24/7 to consult with you regarding your claim, call us at 888-888-8888. Car crash? Call Cellino!

Zoom Screenshot_16.png

Content checked by the personal injury attorney Ross Cellino. As a family man and a trial attorney, I pride myself on winning cases and serving the community. With over 35 years of experience, I understand the function of a jury, how juries arrive at conclusions, and the role that the jury plays in administering justice. I know how to win cases. You can find us in Manhattan, Buffalo, Melville, Rochester, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and other locations throughout New York.

INJURED?
WE CAN HELP

CALL US NOW

Free Case Review

BLOGS ARCHIVE

FREE CASE REVIEW

Testimonials

  • Thank you for your time, effort, and hard work on my case. I appreciate your expertise and compassion. I never experienced what I went through and I would have been completely lost without you.

    Martha

  • I highly recommend Cellino Law to anyone involved in a car crash. I worked with Michael Lovecchio, and had a wonderful experience given the circumstances. He was very attentive, and got the best possible outcome I could have wanted.

    Susan

  • Mark Kochanowicz is from far the best attorney you can have. Mark treats you like a friend more than a client. He truly cares and go the extra mile for you and your case, contacts you to update you in regards to your case and keep you informed at all times. Mark represented me twice and settled my cases for way more than I expected. I highly recommend Mark Kochanowicz because he is just the best on what he does!!! Thank you Mark!!!!

    Maria

  • Now that reality has set in, I want to thank you for all your work and assistance in obtaining my settlement for the pelvic mesh. This money will make my life so much easier in the future. Medicare just isn't sufficient. I know that I will have enough to live on. I truly appreciate of your efforts. Thank you!

    Loraine

  • Cellino Law was a great company to work with. From the beginning they came out and met with my uncle and myself and assured us that everything would be taken care of from beginning to end our lawyer state and constant contact with us to make sure that everything would go smoothly and it did. I would definitely recommend anybody to go to Cellino Law for whatever help they need. And specifically please ask for the lawyer that we had Mr. Alan Silverstein. He was amazing and his staff was always attentive. Please go with them for your next law needs.

    Eshaunda

  • This letter is to thank Ms. Diane D’Andrea, assistant to Mr. George Gridelli, Attny for all the hard work, dedication, and attentiveness she showed during the representation of my case. She was always cheerful and ready to help in whatever way she could. All messages left for Mr. Gridelli were always relayed and Mr. Gridelli always promptly returned our calls. She was a very competent assistant. Cellino Law has proven to be a model of what legal representation should be. Throughout the 6 ½ years of this case, I have heard many horror stories from people with “bad lawyer stories.” We consider ourselves to be very lucky to have chosen Cellino Law and will always recommend you to those looking for good, honest representation with a personal touch.

    Joseph