February 4, 2010

Who Decides Percentage Of Fault In An Auto Insurance Claim

In some states, a claim made against a driver’s auto insurance coverage must be decided by a percentage of fault. For many accidents, this is as simple as declaring which driver was completely at fault; for instance, if one motorist backed into the car of another motorist, there’s no question as to whose insurance will pay for the damages. However in some cases, both drivers have some amount of fault, and damages are assessed according to the percentage. For instance, if one driver made an illegal right turn and hit another driver who was exceeding the speed limit, both drivers would have some amount of fault. Many motorists wonder how these percentages are decided, as they seem fairly random in nature.

Percentage of fault is often negotiated between two auto insurance companies when a claim is made. Each insurance company investigates the details of the accident and decide based on a number of factors an agreeable percentage of fault. The factors they use to decide the auto insurance claim include the accounts of both drivers, any pictures submitted, and any reports from officers who’d surveyed the accident scene. Drivers can help to get a favorable decision by providing as much information as possible in these cases, and by avoiding some classic mistakes at the scene of the accident. For example, admitting any amount of fault is a huge no-no. The state insurance commission may step in if a case is excessively complicated or if one driver submits a complaint about the way in which the case was handled.

Different states may have very different systems for assessing who pays for the cost of an accident. It’s important to understand what type of state you’re driving in before making an auto insurance claim. Some states practice no fault’ systems of insurance in which minor accidents where the cost of damages under a certain amount are handled by the insurers of each driver. Nobody is declared at fault, and this prevents the case from going to court. In other states, if either driver is found to be over 50% at fault in an accident, his insurance will pay for the full damages. To find out how your state handles insurance claims, contact your state’s insurance office or simply call your auto insurance agent. It’s crucial that drivers learn what to expect from a claim before filing one, as the paperwork, pictures, and information submitted with a claim report could have a drastic effect on the case resolution. Doing a bit of research now can save you the hassle as well as thousands of dollars in the long run.