Determining Fault in a Car Accident Claim

Posted By Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law

13 Jul. 2016

When people are involved in car accidents, it's not uncommon for them to immediately point the finger at the other driver. The question is, how is fault determined in a car accident claim?

In order to determine who the "at fault" driver is, it is important to look at the circumstances of how that particular car accident played out. Sometimes; for example, in the case of someone running a red light and broadsiding another vehicle, it can be easy to determine who is at fault, but other times it's not as easy.

Comparative Negligence in New Jersey

In the auto insurance industry, comparative negligence refers to the degree of fault each individual involved in an accident has contributed to the cause of the crash.

In New Jersey auto accidents, the insurance company will investigate the crash and determine how much each driver contributed to the cause of the accident, if they contributed at all.

If you are filing a claim with your own insurance carrier under collision coverage, comparative negligence doesn't apply. On the other hand, if you intend to pursue a claim against the other driver's policy, their insurance company will determine whether you were partially to blame for the accident.

The law in New Jersey does not list any specific guidelines for assessing fault in a car accident claim. Instead, the amount of fault is determined on a case-by-case basis, and it all depends on the circumstances of the accident.

What does the insurance carrier do?

Under the Comparative Negligence Act, insurance carriers are allowed to determine liability for an accident based on the relative fault of the involved parties. Once the insurer reviews the facts of the case, it assigns a percentage of liability upon the parties involved.

The insurance carrier considers:

  • Driver distraction or impairment
  • Whether traffic violations occurred
  • Failing to observe the other vehicle
  • Failure to use signals or the horn
  • Failure to apply the brakes
  • Failure to avoid the other vehicle

Under New Jersey's insurance law, the amount of damages you can receive are reduced by the percentage that you are at fault. For example, if you were considered 10% at fault and your damage was $1,000, you could receive $900 from the other driver's insurance company.

Searching for a car accident attorney in Bergen County or the surrounding areas of New Jersey? Contact Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law by calling (201) 870-1909 today!

Categories: Car Accidents
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