Disputing Your Partial Fault for a Car Accident
July 23, 2019
In many car accidents, the victim and the other driver share fault for the crash. For example, maybe the victim was speeding while the other was distracted and this caused a collision that seriously injured the speeding victim.
If you were injured in a crash you are partially responsible for, you want to recover as much compensation as possible. The question is: how do you dispute your percentage of fault?
This is important because the higher your percentage of fault, the lower your total compensation award will be. At Phillips Law Group, our skilled Phoenix auto accident lawyers know how to thoroughly investigate your accident to try to maximize your recovery. If the insurance company pins some of the blame on you, we may challenge the percentage of fault you are assigned.
Fighting a Traffic Ticket
At the scene of the accident, a law enforcement officer may be called in to determine fault. If he or she believes you or the other driver committed a traffic violation, he or she will issue a citation. If you receive a citation you disagree with, it is critical that you fight the ticket.
If you admit guilt for a ticket, the insurance company will use it against you later when you try to reach a settlement. If you plead not guilty, the state has the obligation to prove the charges against you at a hearing or a trial. You can have legal representation at the hearing or trial.
In some cases, you may be able to attend a defensive driving class and have the citation dismissed. In some cases, the prosecutor may decide that the case is not worth the time or cost and may dismiss it.
In other situations, your lawyer may recommend disputing the facts with the law enforcement agency so things can be investigated again. This helps create a record of you disagreeing with the assertion that you were at fault for the accident.
Creating a Record of Your Disagreement
Another way to try to prove the other driver was at fault is to aggressively fight the insurance company’s statements about you. If the insurance company says you are partially to blame, immediately tell them you disagree.
You should also send a letter that clearly says this. Your dispute letter should include this information:
- The information that you are disputing
- Why you believe the insurance company is wrong
- All evidence that supports your version of events
Keep a copy of all letters/emails between you and the insurance company.
Insurance companies usually have procedures to handle disputes of fault. They may ask you to send a recorded statement about your version of events. However, it is a good idea to talk to a lawyer before doing a recorded statement. A lawyer may explain what to say when you are recorded to try to protect your right to compensation.
Acting Quickly After the Crash
Some of the actions you take at the scene of the accident can help or hurt your ability to prove the other driver was at fault. If you are able, take the steps outlined below. If you are not physically able to perform these tasks, ask an occupant of your vehicle to do the following:
- Ask for the names and contact information for any witnesses who saw the accident.
- Take pictures showing the positions of the vehicles, damage to them, other property damage, debris on the roadway, skid marks and other relevant parts of the scene. Also, take the pictures from different angles and include snapshots of any road signs that had to be obeyed at the time of the accident.
- Report the accident to law enforcement.
- Call for emergency medical assistance if you are injured.
- File an accident claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
Contact Phillips Law Group for Help
If the insurance company is saying you are partially at fault for an accident, it is important to contact an experienced lawyer. Phillips Law Group has a strong reputation as a team of dedicated legal advocates that fights for the maximum compensation available.
If you contact us and we take your case, our attorneys can help you determine your legal options and create a customized legal strategy that is tailored to your case.
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