Car accidents are often incredibly stressful and traumatic experiences, and these wrecks often result in expensive property damage and debilitating personal injuries.
On top of the tremendous stress caused by accidents alone, car accident victims often have to deal with insurance companies that attempt to devalue or reject their claims. These companies may even wrongfully assign blame to a driver who was not at fault for an accident.
If your insurance company or another driver’s insurance company blames you for your accident, you likely won’t be able to recover the compensation necessary for property damage and personal injuries.
Fortunately, if you’re blamed for an accident, you’re not out of options — you can dispute who was at fault for the collision. Here’s what you need to know about a car accident fault dispute and what to do after a car accident that is not your fault.
How Insurance Companies Investigate an At Fault Car Accident
After a car insurance company is notified that one of their clients is involved in a traffic accident, they’ll get to work investigating what occurred and who’s to blame. These insurance companies are for-profit businesses, so they’ll do everything in their power to avoid paying out claims. Although you may think that your insurance company has your best interest, in reality, they will devalue or deny your claim when possible in order to save money.
The car insurance company will often send out an insurance investigator to determine fault. They’ll consider evidence including:
- The police’s accident report
- Pictures of vehicles before and after the accident
- Drivers’ insurance information
- Vehicle damages
- Eyewitness and passenger testimonies
The insurance investigator will also likely visit the scene to find evidence of fault, and if you submit medical expenses, they’ll evaluate their validity and whether your injuries were a direct result of the accident in question.
During the investigation, insurance adjusters may contact drivers to receive their first-hand accounts of the incident. If you’re contacted by your own insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company, anything you say can be used against you. The company may use your recorded statement to hurt your claim, or they may use it as evidence that you were at fault. For that reason, it’s best to contact an Indiana car accident attorney before speaking to an insurance company. An experienced car accident attorney will represent you and ensure you don’t say or do anything that may hurt your ability to recover compensation.
Gather Evidence to Dispute Fault
Regardless of whether or not you need to dispute car accident fault, it’s best to recover as much evidence as possible after a collision. This evidence will be crucial if you ever need to file a personal injury lawsuit.
After experiencing an Indiana car accident, you should take the following steps to gather evidence:
- Contact the police: Insurance companies will use the police’s accident report to help determine fault.
- Collect photographic and video evidence: Visual evidence will be crucial for disputing fault because it will reveal the locations of the vehicles after the crash, traffic signs that a driver may have disobeyed, and skid marks that reveal sudden braking.
- Camera footage: With the proliferation of dashboard cameras, traffic cameras, and surveillance cameras, your wreck could have been recorded, offering critical evidence of who was at fault. Obtaining certain forms of footage will require a subpoena, so it’s best to enlist the services of a personal injury attorney to obtain evidence.
- Eyewitness testimony: Eyewitnesses can provide valuable accounts of what occurred and who was at fault. Make sure to record eyewitness testimonies as well as names and contact information.
In addition to gathering evidence proving that you were not at fault for a vehicular accident, you should also collect proof that you sustained damages as a direct result of the accident. Make sure to retain all proof of medical bills and related expenses that came about due to your wreck. Additionally, you need to provide proof of lost wages if you missed work and any physical or mental limitations that the wreck caused.
Dispute Incorrect Traffic Citations
Often, drivers wrongfully receive a citation indicating wrongdoing, and an insurance company may use this citation as evidence that a driver was at fault for a collision. For example, if a traffic officer issues a citation to a driver for running a red light, an insurance company may assume that the driver caused the accident because they failed to stop at an intersection.
Unfortunately, traffic officers are not always correct when issuing citations or filling out accident reports after a collision, and if they wrongfully penalize you or assign blame, you’ll need to dispute their claim to prove that you were not at fault for the wreck.
As with gathering evidence and speaking with insurance companies, it’s best to have an attorney represent you to prove that a police officer is wrong. You or your attorney needs to contact the police department that issued the accident report and attempt to overturn their initial assessment through your evidence. If you received a traffic ticket, you’ll need to fight it in court rather than pay the ticket.
You’re far more likely to prove that you were not at fault once you amend the accident report and/or overcome the traffic ticket.
How to Dispute Car Accident Fault to An Insurance Company
To dispute a fault car accident, you’ll need to contact the insurance company in writing. Again, it’s best to have a car accident lawyer before getting in touch with an insurance company because they can help you present your evidence effectively. They’ll also ensure that you don’t say anything that may hurt your chances of recovering compensation.
You’ll start the letter by listing your insurance information and the file number associated with your claim, and in the letter’s body, you’ll include all evidence indicating that the other driver was at fault and the damages you sustained as a result. It’s important to recognize that you should only present facts and not your opinions about the car accident in question.
When possible, provide the following evidence:
- Eyewitness testimonies
- Police reports
- Medical bills
- Doctor’s notes
- Car repair receipts
- Documentation indicating that you missed work
Contact an Indiana Personal Injury Attorney
If you’re wrongfully blamed for a car accident, you need to get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can offer guidance on what to do after a car accident that is your fault, a no fault car accident, a car accident fault dispute, and more. For expert legal guidance in Indiana, contact the attorneys at Crossen Law Firm. We’ll help you get the full compensation you deserve for damages that may include medical bills, lost wages, loss of future earnings, pain and suffering, and more.
Call us today at 317-401-8626, or you can contact us online here.