auto accident lawyer Magna, Utah

Auto Accident Lawyers on How Fault is Decided in a Car Crash

After an auto accident, any lawyer in Magna, Utah, would tell you that collecting compensation for your injuries and losses is only possible if you’re able to prove that someone else was responsible. So how is fault assigned in a car crash? Who decides who’s to blame?

The process of determining fault in a Utah auto accident can be complex, and multiple parties may be involved. Here, the car accident lawyers at Cockayne Law explain the methods for deciding who should be held financially accountable.

Method No. 1: The Motorists Determine Fault

While at the scene of a Magna car crash, the motorists involved sometimes make statements regarding responsibility for the incident. 

Blaming others isn’t uncommon, but drivers are often so shaken up after a crash that they blame themselves. Admissions like, “I must have been going a little too fast” or “I just didn’t see that stop sign” are all too easy to make in the heat of the moment. Auto accident lawyers say it’s best to keep quiet – exchanging contact and insurance information is fine, but don’t share anything else.

Method No. 2: The Police Report Points the Blame

When law enforcement officers respond to an auto accident, it’s their job to assess the situation – and their account of the crash might determine fault.

Sometimes, the at-fault party is clear. For instance, if one motorist t-boned another, or if a driver crashed into a car stopped at a red light, liability isn’t all that difficult to determine. That said, weather, road conditions and other circumstances could be involved. As every auto accident lawyer knows, police reports aren’t infallible, but the document is a determining factor a claim for compensation.

Method No. 3: The Insurance Companies Decide

When the motorists involved in a Magna car crash have filed claims, the decision on who is to blame is left to insurance adjusters. 

Several pieces of information may be instrumental in painting a picture of the auto accident, and lawyers say that adjusters may request the official police report, proof of property damage and documents related to injuries sustained. They might also ask for a recorded statement, but giving one isn’t required – it’s best to decline, as adjusters can manipulate any statement and use it against the motorist who isn’t to blame. 

Method No. 4: The Party at Fault is Decided by a Jury

 In the event that fault for a Magna car crash can’t be determined by any of the methods above, injured victims can file a lawsuit and seek compensation in court.

However, very few cases get this far. The process of trying a case before a jury is both lengthy and expensive, and unless a great deal of compensation is involved or someone suffers severe, life-altering injuries, auto accident lawyers aim to settle most injury claims. But if negotiating a fair settlement proves to be impossible, attorneys are willing to head to court and let the evidence determine the outcome.

What is a No-Fault Auto Accident?

 Utah is one of several states with a no-fault system for auto accidents, which means that the party to blame may not be responsible for another motorists financial losses. Instead, the individuals involved submit claims to their own insurance companies and the funds come from their personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.

 With a no-fault auto accident, a lawyer can only seek compensation from the driver who caused a car crash if a victim’s medical bills, lost income and other damages add up to more than the amount of their PIP insurance. Under Utah law, all drivers must carry a minimum of $3,000 in PIP coverage, but when the limits have been reached, injured victims can file a claim against the motorist to blame.

Do You Need an Auto Accident Lawyer?

 Sometimes, the path to compensation is clear after a car crash. With a minor fender-bender, one that leads to just a few bruises and scrapes and very little vehicular damage, there may be no need to get an attorney involved.

 However, if you’re ever injured in a Magna auto accident, you should seek legal advice. Sure, you might be able to rely on your insurer to pay your PIP benefits to the limit, but any excess in damages will need to come from the at-fault motorist’s insurance company – and they’ll no doubt put up a fight for every dollar you try to collect. With an experienced attorney on your side, you’ll have an advocate who isn’t afraid to fight back.

 Also, since most auto accident lawyers offer free, no-obligation consultations, you really have nothing to lose by speaking with an attorney. What’s more, a meeting with a legal professional gives you the opportunity to ask questions and get expert advice regarding your case.

 At Cockayne Law, we understand the effect an auto accident can have, and our highly skilled attorneys are ready to protect the rights of injured victims. You can count on us to help pursue the best possible resolution of your case. For more information, or to discuss who should be held financially accountable for the injuries and losses you sustained in a Magna car crash, contact our Utah office and schedule an auto accident lawyer consultation today.