Does the Car Insurance Company Have a Valid Reason for Assigning Fault to You?

post-it note about faultInsurance companies often blame crash victims for what happened. For example, the insurance company may say you were speeding, distracted or violating another traffic law.

These are often flimsy arguments backed up by little or no evidence. Insurance companies know that if they can get the victim to agree he or she is fully or partially at fault, the claim could be denied or devalued.

That is why it is important for crash victims to learn about valid reasons why fault could be assigned to them. That way they have a better chance of knowing when the insurance company could be misleading them. You do not want to assume you are at fault based on what the insurance company tells you.

If you have questions about fault for the crash that caused your injury, contact Galloway Jefcoat today to schedule a free legal consultation. We have helped many crash victims secure compensation for damages, and there are no upfront costs for our services.

Legitimate Reasons for Victims to Be Assigned Fault

Drivers have a duty of care when they go out on the road. If drivers breach a duty of care and a crash occurs, they can be held liable for damages.

If the insurance claims the victim is at fault, the victim and his or her Lafayette car accident attorney need to determine if there was a breach of the duty of care.

Below, we discuss some examples of situations where a duty of care may have been breached.

Violating Traffic Laws

Drivers have a duty of care to follow the rules of the road, such as rules about speed limits, maintaining a lane, respecting another driver’s right of way and following other vehicles at an appropriate distance.

If the police cite the victim with violating a traffic law, it would be hard to dispute the victim is at least partially at fault for the crash. However, if the police did not cite you for violating a traffic law, and the insurance company is telling you that you did, they may be misleading you.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving has been a significant problem for many years now. Drivers are often looking down at their smartphones while driving because they are sending a text message or using a social media app. Even if a driver is talking on the phone and not looking down, he or she may be mentally distracted.

Sometimes distracted driving does not involve a cellphone. People may be eating, grooming themselves, talking to other passengers, or adjusting the radio or air conditioning.

Sometimes the type of crash and/or the damage the vehicles suffer can indicate distracted driving. For example, if you rear-ended another vehicle and there are no skid marks, it may indicate distracted driving.

Poor Vehicle Maintenance

If you had a broken taillight, old tires or some other problem with your vehicle and you did not get it fixed, it could have contributed to the crash. Sometimes drivers fail to get a recall repair completed and the recall issue contributes to the crash.

If it can be proven that you knew about a maintenance issue or recall and it contributed to the crash, you are likely to be assigned at least partial fault for the collision.

Cases Where Fault is Often Clear

It is important to point out that there are cases where fault is often clear. For example, in a left-turn crash the driver who was turning left is often at fault. In a rear-end crash the driver who rear-ended the other car is often at fault. While this is not always true, insurance companies are likely to assume fault in these types of scenarios.

However, each crash is unique, which means each crash must be investigated to determine what happened and who is at fault. That is why you should strongly consider talking to an experienced attorney about your claim. You cannot rely on what the insurance company is telling you.

Invalid Reasons to Assign Fault to Crash Victims

Often, insurance companies claim victims were speeding, tailgating the other vehicle or they were distracted, even when this is not true. They may make these claims based on some of the offhand remarks you made to the insurance company when they called you.

For example, you may have said you were in a hurry, or you should have been more careful. While you did not mean these statements as admissions of fault, you can be sure the insurance company will take them that way.

There are also times when insurance companies assign fault for reasons that would have had nothing to do with the cause of the crash. For example, your driver’s license or license plate may have been expired. However, these factors have no bearing on the collision itself.

The insurance company may also ask if you were wearing your seat belt. If you were not and were cited by police, the insurance company may say you are at fault for your injuries. However, Louisiana law prohibits the assignment of fault based on not wearing a seat belt.

It is important to note insurance companies are not going to tell you what the law says. They may not lie to you, but they may mislead you. They want to find some way to avoid paying compensation or diminish the value of your claim.

That is why it is often best for crash victims not to talk to the insurance company. You can have your attorney talk to them on your behalf. Insurance companies are not going to try to trick attorneys or mislead them, particularly if the attorney is experienced and has previously taken cases to court.

If you do talk to the insurance company, it is best not to say much. You run the risk of saying something that could hurt the value of your claim. You do not need to talk about fault or what you were thinking or feeling before the crash occurred. They only need to know you were involved in a crash. You also do not need to discuss your injuries in detail.

Unsure About Fault for Your Crash? Call Galloway Jefcoat

Many crash victims think they do not need to hire an attorney to help them deal with the insurance company. However, there are many factors crash victims often do not consider about obtaining compensation after a crash.

Contact Galloway Jefcoat to learn more about our services and the benefits of legal representation. We represent clients on contingency, so there are no upfront fees or costs.

Call today to learn more. We are ready to help: (337) 984-8020.