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Can You Get Compensation if the Accident Was Your Fault?

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If you're involved in a car accident, and it's your fault, you may be entitled to compensation for any related expenses. However, other external factors may impact that.

As a personal injury lawyer, I have worked on several personal injury cases where the person at fault for the accident was also injured. And in many of these instances, they were compensated for their injuries.

In this article, I will tell you all you need to know about what to do if you get into an accident and it is your fault.

Quick Summary

  • You might be able to file a claim if you were partly at fault.
  • The at-fault driver is responsible for the physical injuries or damage caused by the accident. 
  • The vehicle accident victim cannot sue the at-fault driver for their damages under no-fault insurance laws. 

What Happens If a Car Accident Was Your Fault?

An attorney writing down notes while talking on the phoneIf a car accident is your fault, you will most likely be held liable for any damages or serious injuries resulting from the accident.

This means you will be responsible for paying for the car repairs and medical bills for the car accident injuries to the other driver.

However, where you reside determines how fault is handled after a vehicle accident. There are "fault," "partly at fault," and "no-fault" accidents and each has different rules on the driver’s liability.

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What Is a Fault Accident?

A "fault" accident means that the person who caused the accident is held liable for all damages that resulted from it [1]

If you lived in a fault state and caused an accident, you or your insurance company is held responsible for the other driver's damages. The drivers involved are then allowed to file a claim with your insurance.

What Is a Partly-at-Fault Accident?

A lawyer writing on a notebookA partly at-fault accident is one in which both parties are partly responsible for the accident. 

These usually occur when it's unclear who is responsible for the accident. In many cases, it's easy to tell who was at fault, even if the collision was an accident. 

But in accidents where joint liability is claimed, it may be more challenging to establish who shares responsibility for the crash.

If both drivers share equal liability, then the blame is mostly shared after investigations have been conducted. A thorough investigation may reveal that more than one driver is responsible for the incident.

"If two people were involved in a collision and the car accident victims were even partly at fault, that person was barred from recovery. The relevant legal concept for this is referred to as "pure contributory negligence." Some states adhere to this legal theory. However, most states use a proportional form of establishing fault."
- Dylan S. Jones, Personal Injury and Insurance Lawyer

What Are Non-Fault Car Accidents?

Non-fault car accidents are when neither party is held liable for the damages caused by the accident [2]

In a non-fault accident, both parties are typically covered by their insurance policies. The person who was not at fault for the accident can file a claim with their insurance company to cover their damages.

If you happen to live in a no-fault state, then each driver's insurance company in these no-fault states pays for their damages, regardless of who caused the accident.

What Damages Are Covered If You Cause a Car Accident?

A lawyer holding law booksThe damages that are covered if you cause a car accident include your medical bills and treatment costs, the damage to your car, any lost wages, and pain and suffering damages.

"Damages" in personal injury refers to any losses caused by someone else's negligence.

You won't be responsible for these charges in most circumstances unless your car insurance policy exceeds the limit. 

If the injured driver takes you to court and sues you and their damages cost more than what your policy can cover, you will have to pay for the extras from your own pocket.

Types of Damages You Can Claim

This list shows the different types of damages you could be compensated for in your insurance claim:

  • Medical Expenses Reimbursement
  • Repair Vehicle Damage
  • Compensation for Your Lost Wages
  • Payment for a Wrongful Death

4 Things You Should Do After a Car Accident You Caused

A lawyer discussing paperwork with a clien

After you cause a car accident, you should call the police, your insurance company, and a lawyer or law firm.

However, I recommend you do the following things to protect your rights, even if you're the at-fault party.

1. Inform the Authorities

Call the cops to report the accident. Do not leave the area until police arrive to avoid being charged with a hit-and-run.

2. Information Exchange

You should also exchange contact information, insurance coverage, and phone numbers with the other driver. You might record their license plate number and the make and model of their vehicle.

3. Take Pictures to Document the Scene

Make sure you take many pictures of the accident scene from different angles to prove fault.

4. Inform Your Insurance Company

Call your insurance company and inform them of the accident; otherwise, you could lose your collision coverage.

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FAQs

What Happens if You Are Partially at Fault in a Car Accident?

If you are partially at fault in a car accident, you may still be able to get compensated for your damages, depending on your state.

Will My Car Insurance Rates Be Affected By the Accident?

Yes, your car insurance rates will be affected by the accident. Your car insurance rates will likely go up after an accident, regardless of who is at fault.

If I Have Been Injured in an Auto Accident and It Was My Fault, Can I Still Pursue a Claim?

Yes, you can still pursue a claim if you have been injured in an auto accident and it was your fault. However, the doctrine of contributory negligence will limit your ability to recover compensation.

If you've been in an auto accident and want to file a claim, contact the Schmidt & Clark, LLP law firm, get a free legal consultation with the best personal injury lawyers, and receive a free case evaluation. 

After your free consultation, our personal injury lawyers will take care of filing your personal injury claim, guiding you through the process and ensuring that you receive the compensation you are owed. 


References:

  1. https://www.lawinsider.com/dictionary/at-fault-accident
  2. https://www.lawinsider.com/dictionary/no-fault

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