How to Dispute Fault for a Car AccidentApril 19, 2021
Accepting Blame for a Crash You Didn’t Cause Will Cost You
Figuring out the cause(s) of a car wreck is crucial when it’s time to file a claim and recover. While fault determinations can be pretty straightforward in some cases, they are often complicated, requiring deeper investigations to identify the errors or oversights that contributed to a wreck.
For car accident victims, disputing and proving fault can become even more challenging in light of the facts that:
- They may be suffering from physical and/or psychological injuries: Treatment and healing can consume victims’ total bandwidth, particularly when catastrophic or life-threatening injuries have occurred.
- They may be facing new financial pressures: Injuries can keep victims out of work while burdening them with expensive medical bills. These new financial stresses can make it difficult to push back and hold out for the full compensation victims may deserve when insurers may try to partially blame them for accidents.
- Insurance companies are not on their side: It’s no secret that insurers profit by not paying claims—and that laying blame on victims can be an effective way to avoid paying them compensation.
Despite these challenges, however, there are effective ways to dispute fault determinations after motor vehicle accidents.
5 Tips for Disputing Fault for an Auto Accident
If you have been unfairly and incorrectly blamed for a car crash, first, carefully review the insurance company’s grounds for this finding. Read their explanation to see what specific evidence or facts they cite as the basis for the denial.
Then, use these helpful tips to dispute fault, safeguard your claim, and protect your rights to financial recovery.
1. Reexamine the accident scene photos.
The pictures you took of the wreck and accident scene may hold key information related to fault. Some specific details to look at in these photos can include:
- How the vehicles are damaged and where they ended up: This can highlight points of impact and how the vehicles were moving when the wreck happened. With this information, you may be able to prove that another party caused the accident—and you didn’t.
- The road and debris at the scene: Tire tracks on the road, pieces of shredded tires, unsecured cargo, and other debris at the scene may support arguments that another party is at fault for the accident.
- The people at the scene: These individuals could be new potential witnesses, who may be able to back up your version of events or share new information that could support an accurate fault determination.
- Other details: Were there any nearby surveillance cameras that could have captured the crash? Were nearby road features or signs damaged in the wreck? What was the weather like? Again, these fine points can uncover key facts about which party is really to blame for the accident, potentially proving you were merely a victim.
TIP: Examine these photos more than once. You may even want to ask a trusted loved one to look at the pictures with you. Subsequent examinations of these photos—and new sets of eyes—can help you notice new things that may have been overlooked before.
2. Obtain & carefully review a copy of the police accident report.
Here’s how to easily get a copy of the police report for a car accident in Texas. Any of these details in this report could be used as a basis for insurers to try to pin at least some of the fault on you. So, once you obtain a copy of it, go over it carefully to look for any potential inaccuracies.
If you find any wrong information, it can be in your best interests to:
- Contact the officer who wrote the report and point out the inaccurate fact(s).
- Provide any evidence you have to establish that the fact(s) in question are incorrect.
Even if the officer does not agree or change the police car accident report, your disagreement will be noted for the record.
TIP: Contact a car accident lawyer for help reading this police report if necessary. An attorney will know what insurance companies are looking for and how they may use certain details in the report to undermine or possibly deny your claim.
3. Never provide an official statement to insurance companies without being prepared.
This statement will be recorded, and it can be used by insurers to try to subvert your claim and blame you for the wreck. So, when it comes to giving official statements about a car accident to insurance adjusters:
- Do not agree to provide this statement until you are 100% ready to do so.
- Only talk about the facts that you are fully sure of.
- Do not guess about anything or feel you have to provide an answer if you’re unsure. It’s OK to say you don’t know.
TIP: Write down the facts of the accident that you recall before providing this statement. While a written record can help you keep the facts clear when you’re speaking with adjusters, it can also help you maintain a consistent account of events moving forward.
4. Never accept a wrongful denial of your claim.
Insurers know that people may not be familiar with their rights or how the claims process work. Some insurance companies will take advantage of this, outright denying valid claims with:
- Murky evidence: When there may be more than one way to interpret evidence from a crash, expect insurers to find the interpretation that best suits their interests and protects their profits.
- Inaccurate facts: Citing the police report and/or witness statements, sometimes, insurers may use incorrect “facts” to blame you for the crash. This is another reason that reviewing the police report, as well as the witness statements in them, is critical.
When this occurs, remember, a denial of your car accident claim does NOT have to be the final word on the matter.
TIP: Whenever a car accident claim is wrongfully denied, retain an attorney. Insurers can change their tune when you bring a lawyer into the picture, and an attorney can make sure you take all the right steps to fight the denial.
5. Trust an experienced lawyer to help you dispute fault & successfully resolve your claim.
The reality is that insurance companies can use several different tactics to try to blame you for a crash, reduce the value of your claim, and/or deny your claim altogether. An experienced car accident attorney can help you:
- Anticipate and challenge insurers’ arguments when fighting wrongful denials of claims
- Gather the necessary evidence to prove insurers made a wrong decision in denying your claim
- Counsel and represent you in any proceedings related to your case
TIP: Contact an attorney ASAP after a crash. The sooner you have a lawyer in your corner, helping you deal with insurers, the stronger your claim will likely be. Ultimately, that can give you far better chances of preventing insurers from wrongly blaming you for the accident so that you can secure the full, fair compensation you may deserve.