How Do I Dispute Car Accident Fault?
The first thing you should do is find an experienced car accident lawyer to help you. Fighting the insurance company alone is an uphill battle that is extremely difficult to win. Insurance adjusters are experts on their own policies and current insurance laws in the state. Unless you are also an expert on these things – and most people aren’t – arguing with the insurance adjuster could do more harm than good. For instance, insurance adjusters often record their calls, then misconstrue something you said to mean that you were at fault for the accident.
How to Appeal an At-Fault Accident?
Time is not on your side in these situations, especially if you’ve already made an insurance claim and received a denial. That means the insurance adjuster has already gathered evidence against you and may search for more. The faster you secure legal representation, the sooner your lawyer can also begin collecting and examining evidence in your case.
How Do I Prove Fault in a Car Accident?
We know that accidents can be upsetting, and you might be injured, in pain, or otherwise distracted in the aftermath. If you can, try to take pictures of the scene, getting shots of the road and a panoramic view of each vehicle so no damage is missed.
When you talk to the responding police officer, answer their questions honestly, but keep your answers concise. You don’t need to give any information you weren’t asked about and should not speculate about fault, especially if you think you might have been responsible. We’ve met many clients who told us the accident was their fault, and it turned out to be incorrect after we investigated.
It’s also helpful to get the name and number of any witnesses you see at the scene. Sometimes witnesses leave before the police arrive, or you lose track of them when the emergency vehicles show up. We often check with witnesses to see if they remember anything else or get a different perspective on the accident. Additionally, our investigative team will canvas the area near the crash site in case there are witnesses the police didn’t have a chance to question.
Before filing an insurance claim, we recommend talking to a car accident lawyer. Insurance forms are frequently confusing, and it’s easy to make mistakes that can increase the chances of your claim being denied. Your lawyer can help you fill out the forms, then negotiate with the insurance carrier to ensure you receive a fair settlement.
What If Your Claim Was Already Denied?
We can still help if you filed a claim and received a denial. In some cases, we might even be able to get you a larger settlement than expected after calculating your actual damages.
Many people receive an insurance claim denial and immediately call the insurance company to voice their unhappiness. We understand the impulse, but this move is not in your best interest in the long term. Earlier, we mentioned that insurance companies usually record all their calls. They usually bring this to your attention with a brief recorded message about their interest in quality control.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to get off track when you’re upset, as you might be after having your claim denied. What often happens is the accident victim will call the insurance adjuster and inadvertently say something that the adjuster takes as an admission of fault. Even if this doesn’t happen, the adjuster is unlikely to change their mind simply because you called and told them that the accident wasn’t your fault. They are well-versed in laws and company policies and assume you are not.
Instead, bring the denial letter to an experienced car accident lawyer. We’ll go over the details of your accident and the police report, then determine what your damages are. It’s important to know exactly what your claim is worth before we begin negotiations with the insurance carrier.
How We Can Help
Determining fault in a car accident is a more complex process than most people realize if they have never been involved in an accident. Under Wyoming and Colorado law, fault can be shared between both drivers. In other words, an accident doesn’t have to be 100 percent the fault of one driver – and in many cases, it isn’t.
Then how do the insurance companies work out who will pay for the accident damages? Under modified comparative fault statutes, the person who is less than 50 percent responsible for the accident can collect damages from the person who is more than 50 percent responsible. Another way to look at it is that the driver who is mostly at fault will pay damages to the driver with less fault. But whatever percentage of responsibility is assigned to the injured party is removed from the damages they recover. As a result, if you were 49 percent responsible for the accident, you could collect compensation from the other driver, but you probably would not receive very much.
For this reason, we work hard to show that our clients were not at fault or had very little fault so that we can preserve as much of your settlement as possible. The best way to do this is to compile as much evidence in your favor as we can, and as soon as we take on a new case, we immediately assign an investigative team to look into the crash.
Finding Evidence in Your Car Crash Case
In addition to looking for more witnesses, we also search the neighborhood around the accident scene for video cameras – traffic cameras, doorbell cameras, security cameras, etc. A video of the crash can often clear up differences between the driver’s accounts of what happened. It’s not unusual for a police report to be inconclusive because the two drivers often recall the accident differently – two people at a four-way stop might disagree about who had the right of way, for instance. An officer at the scene may have no easy way to determine who is right and limited time to investigate.
When this situation happens, and you make a claim with the other driver’s insurance policy, the insurance adjuster is likely to side with their client and agree you are at fault. After all, doing so means they don’t have to pay your claim! But if we recover a video of the car crash and show that their client was actually at fault, or at least mostly at fault, they may be compelled to reconsider.
The downside of video evidence is that it can have a short shelf life due to being resource-intensive. In other words, people delete videos often because they take up storage space needed for other data. The sooner you contact us about your case, the better the odds are that we will find a video of the crash (if it exists in the first place).
Leaving no stone unturned, we also look for other types of evidence, such as data from smartphones and vehicle black boxes. For example, the other driver’s phone records might show that they were texting while driving, which is likely to increase their percentage of fault.
Most new cars contain black boxes that track a wide variety of data after any significant event – like a car crash – so that vehicle manufacturers can improve safety features. However, this data is also valuable for us when establishing fault. We can learn how fast the other driver was going, the direction they were moving in, if and when they turned, etc. Often this information helps us reconstruct the accident and ascertain what happened.
How Long Does It Take to Fight an Insurance Claim Denial?
This depends on several factors, including how quickly we find evidence in your case, how long it takes the insurance company to respond, the insurance carrier’s willingness to negotiate, and more. We will give you a general time estimate after examining the details of your case, but occasionally it may take longer than expected due to circumstances out of our control. However, we promise to always work tirelessly on your case and update you on our progress.
Olson Law Firm is Here to Help After Your Accident
Attorney Sean Olson created the Olson Law Firm in 2011 and has since dedicated himself to telling his clients’ stories and fighting for their right to compensation. He personally meets with every client, makes himself available, and responds promptly to your questions and concerns. The entire team at the Olson Law Firm comprises hard-working, caring individuals who want to help you get the compensation you deserve.
We know that a car accident can be a scary experience that may leave you injured, in pain, out of work, and wondering how you will pay for medical bills and car repairs. You expect the at-fault driver’s insurance company to help, but if they don’t, you might feel frustrated. If this happens, please contact the Olson Law Firm for a free review of your insurance claim denial. In many cases, we can refute the insurance company’s claims and demonstrate that you were not at fault or had very little responsibility for the crash.