How is Liability Determined in a Car Accident?

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When people get into a car accident, one of the hardest things to do is figure out who was at fault. Nobody is going to stand up after a crash and admit that they caused the accident. Why would anyone do this? It would mean their insurance company would have to pay the other driver’s damages. This will result in higher insurance premiums. And, if the other driver’s injuries are serious, it could result in personal liability on the part of the driver.

When you first meet with your North Carolina car accident lawyer, they’re going to ask you what happened. They need to know your version of events. They’re also going to ask to review any information you have about the accident. This includes the following things:

  • The police report – This will provide your lawyer with the most information about the crash. When the police arrive at the scene, they’re going to conduct a thorough investigation. They’ll prepare a police report that includes the following:
    • Description of the accident scene
    • Pictures of the cars and the road
    • Description of road conditions
    • Contact info and statements of any witnesses
    • License and insurance information for the drivers involved
    • Notations about any tickets or citations issues, as well as any arrests made
  • Any correspondence from the other driver’s insurance company – If your insurance claim has been denied, you should have a denial letter. This letter will state the reason for the denial. It will also provide some information about who they insurance adjuster thinks is at fault.
  • Your own statement – When you tell your Huntersville accident lawyer what happened, they’ll take notes. They’ll look to see if there are any inconsistencies between your story and the other information they have.

Once your attorney has reviewed your file, they’ll let you know if they think you have a valid claim. If you do, they may be willing to handle your North Carolina car accident lawsuit.

 

Rarely is Either Driver 100% at Fault

It’s very rare that one driver is 100% at fault. Even if one driver primarily caused the accident, that doesn’t mean the other driver is completely without fault. For example, if someone rear-ends you at a red light, it may be because your brake lights were out. So, despite the fact that the rear driver is presumed to be at fault, the front driver may be partially at fault.

Louisiana has something called comparative fault. This means that, as long as you’re less than 50% at fault, you can still file a claim against the other party. The only difference is that your claim will be reduced by your percentage of fault.

For example, let’s say your total damages are $100,000. The jury believes that you were 20% at fault for your North Carolina car accident. They’ll reduce your award by 20%, or $20,000.

 

It May Come Down to Who the Jury Believes

Very few car accident cases actually go to trial. More than 90% of all personal injury suits settle out of court. This is because trials are expensive and time consuming. Nobody wants to go to trial. You also risk losing at trial. No matter how convinced you are that the other driver was at fault, there’s no guarantee that the jury will agree with you.

If your case does go to trial, a jury will decide your fate. They’ll determine which party they believe was at fault. There are lots of reasons why a jury would decide in favor of the defendant:

  • Your story isn’t believable
  • You have a history of filing insurance claims and lawsuits
  • You didn’t go to the hospital after your crash
  • You don’t appear to be injured
  • You don’t come across as personable or believable
  • The jury doesn’t think you suffered any real loss

Because of all of these things, your Huntersville car accident attorney is going to work hard to settle your case. Both sides understand that neither party is 100% at fault. They go into settlement negotiations with this in mind. Your attorney will account for this without compromising your best interests.

 

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in North Carolina

If you or your loved one have been injured in a car accident, you’ll need to prove you weren’t at fault. An experienced car accident lawyer in North Carolina can help you do this. They have the knowledge and expertise to establish causation.

Call Harman Law today and schedule your free initial consultation. And remember – you pay nothing until you settle your case.

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