Insurance adjusters determine who is at fault in a car accident. When a policyholder files a claim after a car accident, the insurance company they file with assigns an adjuster to investigate the incident and determine fault based on all of the evidence that is available. In accidents involving multiple drivers and claims, each insurer will assign an adjuster to investigate. If the drivers involved in a wreck are insured by the same company, the insurer will assign a separate adjuster to each party in order to avoid a conflict of interest.
What Adjusters Consider When Determining Fault
Driver and witness statements
Dash cam footage
The location of vehicle damage
The position of the vehicles based on pictures taken at the scene
Any citations that were issued after the accident
Adjusters determine fault based on the legal definition of negligence, which is when a driver fails to exercise the same amount of caution that a “reasonable person” would under the same circumstances. In some cases, fault might be clear, like when one driver rear ends another. But in major accidents involving multiple vehicles, it can be more complicated and time-consuming to determine fault. The adjuster may even conclude that multiple drivers are to blame.
The first thing you should do after a car accident that is not your fault is to make sure everyone inside your car is safe and uninjured. Next, call the police, take pictures of the scene, and exchange insurance information with the at-fault driver so you can file a claim with their insurer. You should also report the accident to your insurance company in case you need to file a … read full answercollision, personal injury protection, or MedPay claim with your own policy.
What to Do After a Car Accident That’s Not Your Fault
Move your car away from oncoming traffic and address any injuries. If your car is driveable you should try to move your car out of harm’s way to avoid further accidents or injuries.
Call the police and file a report. This will help you further along the way when filing an insurance claim since a police report will most likely determine fault.
Get the other driver’s insurance information. Take a photo of their insurance card so that you can get in touch with their insurer if you need to file a liability claim.
Take pictures of the scene and damage to the cars. Insurers require evidence before they can settle a claim. Having pictures from the incident will help speed up the claim process.
Report the accident to your insurance company. Even if you don’t file a claim with your own insurance, you should still report the accident to your insurer since they might need to update information related to your vehicle.
Document any accident-related expenses. An accident can incur a bunch of hidden costs. Make sure you keep track of all expenses related to the accident so that you can be reimbursed.
File a property damage and/or bodily injury claim with the other driver’s insurance company. Having gathered all the pertinent information, contact the at-fault driver’s insurer and file a claim. Make sure you have all the information and documents mentioned above so that the process goes as smoothly as possible.
Filing an Insurance Claim When You’re Not at Fault
If an accident is not your fault, you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s liability insurance. This will cover the cost of vehicle repairs and medical bills up to the limits of the driver’s policy.
Because it can take a long time for an insurance adjuster to officially determine fault, however, you can initially file a collision or personal injury claim with your own insurer to cover vehicle repairs and medical expenses, regardless of fault. Once fault is determined, your insurance company will recover the expenses from the at-fault driver’s insurer, and your deductible will be refunded.
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