To put it simply, if you are at-fault for an accident, then you caused the accident to take place and are responsible for subsequent damages. However, determining which party is at fault differs from state to state.
In Louisiana, if an insurance company determines that a party is 51% or more at fault, then that party is considered to have caused the accident. This implies that the at-fault party is ultimately responsible for payment of the resulting damages and injuries from his or her actions. This is called comparative fault, which means each party may be responsible for a percentage of the fault, up to 100%. But how do we determine who is the guilty party?
Police Reports and Citations
Insurance companies use a few methods to determine who is at fault for an accident. First, the insurance company will look at the police report. This is one of many reasons why it’s so important to call the police and have a report written after an accident. A police officer interviews each driver, all passengers, and any witnesses available. The police report may contain a statement about fault and the officer may issue a citation against the party that the officer determined to have violated a traffic law. While police reports and citations aren’t always the end all be all in establishing fault, they are necessary in a personal injury claim.
Insurance Adjuster Investigation
Next, an adjuster for the insurance company conducts investigates the accident, which includes speaking with witnesses, examining any related documents, and speaking to their policy holder(s). The adjuster will also request any video evidence of the accident, if available. They then look at the property damage and examine the impact points on each vehicle.
Ultimately, the insurance adjusters determine who was at fault for an accident. Once fault is determined, the at-fault party’s insurer pays for repairs, medical expenses, and any other losses like pain and suffering or lost wages through that driver’s liability coverage. Since Louisiana is an at-fault state with comparative fault, each driver involved in an accident can be partially at fault. The adjuster may decide that, due to the negligent actions of both drivers, each driver is 50% at fault for the accident. This means that each party will receive a settlement for 50% of their losses.
Objection, Your Honor!
If you are not happy with the degree of fault that an adjuster assigns to you, then you can file for a lawsuit against the insurance company. The court will consider arguments from both the plaintiff’s lawyer and a lawyer representing the insurance company. They will present evidence such as witnesses, that very important police report, photographs, etc. Then, the judge or jury will determine who caused the accident. Once this determination is made, the party’s insurer is responsible for repair payments, medical bills, etc.
Call a personal injury lawyer.
If you or a loved one has been in a car wreck, or any type of automobile accident, contact us today or fill out our free case evaluation form. We will help you deal with insurance companies and get you the compensation you may deserve – One Call, That’s All!