How is Fault Determined in a Car Accident?
While the Sunshine state attracts people from all across the world, the added congestion causes more auto accidents. You are unable to predict a car accident, but they happen each and every day. Even a seemingly minor collision can result in major injuries, sometimes even the death of a loved one.
If you have been involved in an accident for the first time, you may be unaware of your rights and what to do next. Even if you have been involved in accidents previously, it can still be traumatic and confusing. After a car accident, you will need to contact a car accident attorney in Florida to discuss your options.
What to do after a car accident
The actions you take after a car accident are essential to your case and your recovery. We understand that the scene is often high stakes and there are a lot of emotions running through each party. While we understand that you have adrenaline coursing through you, it is important to stay as calm as possible on the scene.
You should get emergency medical treatment as soon as possible. Often, due to the adrenaline, you do not fully know the extent of your injuries. They may become apparent later that day or even the next. This is why it is important to get checked out immediately. This will also create a direct link between your injuries and the accident which can help move your case forward.
If you are able to, you will need to collect evidence at the scene, including photos and videos. If there are any witnesses get their contact information as well. You will need this on the final step, which is contacting a car accident attorney in Pensacola.
How does an insurance investigation work?
When a car insurance company gets a report that an accident occurred, they will conduct their own investigation. They will typically base their findings on the police report. They may also request you to provide any evidence you may have collected on the scene.
While you should cooperate with authorities and insurance companies, you do not want to admit fault to either party. You may feel that you were partially at fault, but you should not admit this. You should instead discuss this with your Pensacola car accident attorney, and only provide pertinent information regarding the accident to other parties.
The nuances of fault
Determining who was at fault in an accident will have a major impact on your case. Whoever the at-fault party is will be the one who will have to pay for damages incurred by the other party. In Florida, insurance companies will consider several types of negligence when looking at fault.
Strict comparative negligence is when both parties may share the fault. They will issue a percentage number to each party, and this will determine how much compensation you may be entitled to. If you are found to be partially at fault this will mean any damages award will be deducted by the percentage of fault you share. In order to seek compensation, however, you must be less than 50% at fault for the accident.
Pure contributory negligence is when a driver is 100% at fault and they will be the ones whose insurance company must pay all damages. These instances are all or nothing and there is zero room for error. Alabama is one of a handful of states that applies a pure contributory negligence standard to personal injury claims.
Florida is a “no-fault state” which means that each driver is required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance on their vehicle. Their own insurance will pay up to a certain amount in damages in an accident depending on the insurance policy.
Legal help for car accident victims in Florida
Being involved in a car accident is a traumatic experience. You may be unable to work as a result and may no longer have a vehicle due to the damages. Determining fault can be a complex and nuanced topic in Florida. If you or a loved one were involved in an auto accident, contact Whibbs, Stone & Barnett for assistance. Speak with one of our Pensacola personal injury attorneys by contacting our office online or by calling 850-500-1111 for an initial consultation.