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What happens if I am at fault in a car accident?

When you’re in a car accident caused by someone else, you already know the negligent party. You can seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company for medical bills, property damage, and other losses. But what if you were the one responsible for the accident? The guilt and stress of being at fault in a car accident can make you feel overwhelmed. Whether due to distraction, overseeing, or failing to yield as you should have, fortunately, there may still be a way for you to recover from your losses. Here, we will discuss what to do after a car accident, insurance options in no-fault and fault states, and when and why you should hire an auto accident attorney.

What things to do after a car accident if it was your fault?

Being a part of an auto accident is overwhelming. Whether you are entirely or partially at fault car accident, you might feel anxious about what will happen next. Accidents tend to occur, so it’s critical to accept responsibility for your actions just as you would want someone else to if they were at fault. First of all, if you think you caused a car accident, don’t panic. There are several vital steps to take after a crash, such as:

Stop at the accident site

When involved in an accident, one must stop at the accident scene. Even if the car accident is minor, do not flee the scene; doing so may result in legal action against you. For instance, you might face an arrest or serious criminal charges for a hit-and-run case. Hence, it is always preferable to stop adhering to the law. Regardless of the situation, keep calm and avoid irrational arguments with the other driver.

Seek medical aid

The next step is to see if anyone suffered damage in the accident. Check yourself for any injuries and examine others also. You should give the injured person first aid if there are minor wounds. A simple first aid kit that often comes with your car works for treating minor injuries. But call an ambulance or police immediately if anyone seems critically hurt or unresponsive. While you wait, avoid indulging with the other driver and never admit your fault.

Intimating your insurance company

After caring for injuries, it is time to inform your insurance company about the car crash. Call the service provider of your car insurance policy and give detailed information. While you know you are at fault car accident to some extent, do not make official statements of holding responsibility. Avoid discussing what you were doing before the collision and who you think was responsible. The point is to let the authorities know that an accident occurred.

Filing police report

Another significant step is to inform the police about the car crash. When the police arrive at the accident scene, you should give them a brief account of the incident. Their duty at the accident spot is to file a police report. They might ask typical questions and inspect the damage to your car. You may state that your car collided with the other vehicle, but you must never reveal facts like distracted driving or carelessness. Even if you are at fault, never admit it because the police will use the collected information against you in the future.

Collecting evidence if you are at fault in a car accident

Gathering evidence at the scene of your car accident is extremely valuable. There may be some proof showing that you were not at fault car accident completely. For instance, there could be surveillance cameras nearby that may have captured footage of the accident. It may indicate that you shared the blame with the other driver. So, check for cameras and take pictures of the scene, including all vehicles involved, debris, road condition, and even injuries.

Hiring a lawyer

There are many benefits of having a proficient accident lawyer by your side. The lawyer will evaluate your situation in-depth and reveal options unknown to you. Since they know about various laws prevailing in different states, they will inform you whether or not you have any chance at financial recovery. Besides this, they can help conduct a professional investigation and review all pertinent data to establish fault.

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No-fault vs. fault states

at fault car accident


State governments in the United States decide how to regulate auto insurance. A state could be a no-fault state, a tort liability state, or a combination of the two for determining responsibility in car accidents. Currently, there are 12 no-fault states, including, New Jersey, Minnesota,

Florida, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Kentucky, Utah, Massachusetts, and North Dakota. State governments in the United States decide how to regulate auto insurance.

A state could be a no-fault state, a tort liability state, or a combination of the two for determining responsibility in auto accidents. Drivers should have personal injury protection(PIP) coverage as part of their car insurance policy in these states. The regulations governing auto accident lawsuits in no-fault auto states are restrictive. Also known as threshold conditions, these rules relate to the severity of the damage suffered in the incident. Each party’s auto insurance will cover losses depending on who is at fault car accident.

Contrary to no-fault insurance, tort insurance demands that the law determine “fault.” There are currently 38 at-fault states that practice tort law. The party found at fault in a car accident is liable for all medical costs, pain and suffering, and property damage. This kind of insurance refers to “at-fault” insurance. No matter who caused the accident, the car insurance coverage will pay up to the limits the insured sets. If damages exceed the limits, the at-fault drivers could be responsible for paying out of pocket.

So, if you reside in a fault state, the driver who caused the accident will be held liable for any injuries sustained. When the other driver claims with your insurance provider, you or your auto insurance will cover the expenses.

Potential compensation for losses at fault in a car accident

Having insurance coverage is beneficial if you cause an accident. But it might not be adequate to cover all losses. Unless the costs exceed your car insurance policy limits, you might not be required to pay anyone’s damages out of pocket. However, you are personally liable for the compensation of an injured driver if they sue you for more damages than your insurance covers. In case of death or severe injuries, you may face a lawsuit. Your insurance company and the injured party may reach a settlement to avoid going to court. The losses that another driver may qualify for compensation by your insurance company are as follow:

  • Medical costs
  • Lost revenue
  • Loss of ability to earn
  • Pain and suffering
  • Damage to property

Regarding your damages, if your policy includes collision coverage, it should pay for them, though you will still be responsible for your deductible.

However, if you are partially negligent, a percentage of fault will reduce the compensation amount you may receive. For example, both backed up their respective cars and collided with each other. In such cases, two drivers would share fault, but the percentage value depends on the facts of the incident. A skilled car accident lawyer can calculate your losses and protect your rights. They will ensure that you are not paying more than the requirement.

Legal guidance for at fault in a car accident

Road accidents are unfortunate incidents that can occur unexpectedly, so it is advisable to be ready for any adversity while driving. To prevent road accidents, you should obey all traffic laws, adhere to the speed limit, and never drink and drive. Additionally, carry a copy of all required documents, such as your driver’s license, registration certificate, and motor insurance papers, whenever you are out on the road. If you cause the accident, you are liable for covering the losses of the other driver and anyone else harmed. It would be your responsibility to cover any medical expenses and other damages. However, if you contributed to an accident partly, you might be eligible to receive compensation for your harm and losses.

For a free consultation, contact a qualified auto accident attorney at 312-598-0917  to comprehend your obligations and rights. Remember that even if you committed a mistake and caused the crash, you are not alone. Our well-established legal firm at Phillips Law Offices is available for assistance. Whether you are negligent entirely or partially, we can handle your case. We can assist you in determining whether or not you are at fault in a car accident. Moreover, we prevent our clients from paying an unfair settlement to the other party. Any sensitive information you share with us remains strictly confidential.

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