How Fault Is Determined In Car Accidents

by Colbert Cooper Hill Attorneys

Drivers Arguing After A Car Accident Stock Photo

Our Oklahoma City Car Accident Lawyers Are on Your Side

There were 71,415 car accidents in Oklahoma in 2017, according to the State of Oklahoma Highway Safety Office. Car accidents are very common and dangerous. They put a lot of physical and emotional stress on everyone involved. One of the most important things after a vehicle accident is determining which party is at fault. After all, the insurance provider of the person found responsible for the accident will likely have to pay for the other party’s damages. 

If you were injured in an accident, you may be wondering how fault is determined. Our Oklahoma City car accident lawyers at Colbert Cooper Hill Attorneys can help you navigate the legal processes to receive fair compensation. We’re experienced in helping our clients across Oklahoma obtain the money they deserve after a car accident. We may be able to help you, too! 

3 Top Priorities After an Accident

Police Officer Writing A Police Report Stock Photo

Seek immediate medical attention 

The very first thing you should do after an accident is to check if anyone involved is injured and call emergency responders. Even if you believe you are unharmed, it is important to seek medical attention, as symptoms can appear days after your accident. Receiving compensation for your medical bills can be difficult if you failed to be evaluated and treated by a medical professional.

Never admit fault

You may feel tempted to apologize after an accident, but it is very important that you don’t! Apologizing can seriously jeopardize your chances of receiving compensation if the collision was not, in fact, your fault. 

Get a police report

Call the local authorities if they are not already on the scene. A police officer will gather statements from everyone involved, as well as any witnesses present. He/she may also make a note of who, in his/her professional opinion, was at fault for the incident. Though it may be helpful, it is not necessary for the officer to do this, as the responsibility of determining who is at fault will ultimately fall on the insurance adjusters. 

Insurance Adjuster Examining Car Accident Stock Photo

How Insurance Companies Determine Fault

Insurance companies determine fault in accordance with the legal definition of negligence in the state where the collision took place. Oklahoma’s law on negligence states that a negligent person is one who is violating a duty owed to another. This means the person has done, or failed to do, something in a justifiable manner, resulting in another person’s injuries. 

An adjuster will investigate the collision thoroughly to determine who was at fault. He/she will review the police report, the damage done to both vehicles, as well as all statements that were given and the medical reports. He/she will then determine who is responsible for the collision. 

If both parties contributed to the accident, the adjuster may assign a percentage of fault to both drivers. However, according to Oklahoma’s laws on comparative negligence, if you’re found to be more than 50 percent at fault, you will likely not be able to recover your losses. 

No-Fault vs. At-Fault States

If you plan to file a claim for damages, it is important to know whether your state operates under the no-fault system or the at-fault system. 

In no-fault states, drivers have insurance to cover their own injuries and damages in the event of an accident. Even if the accident wasn’t their fault, the injured person would make a claim with their own insurance company.

Oklahoma, on the other hand, is an at-fault state, which means the insurance company of the person found at fault will be responsible for the other party’s damages. In other words, if you’re injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be able to file a claim against the other person’s insurance company for your injuries. 

We Can Help

We know all of these laws and stipulations can be confusing. Our Oklahoma City car accident lawyers at Colbert Cooper Hill Attorneys can help you determine who was at fault for your accident and coordinate with the insurance companies on your behalf. We want you to focus on recovering, while we fight to get you the maximum compensation available for your injuries. 

Our offices are located in Tulsa, Ardmore, and Oklahoma City, but we are proud to serve residents across Oklahoma. If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident, please don’t hesitate to call us today at (877) 579-6800 for a free consultation