In some cases, fault in a car accident is easy to determine. In other situations, it may be more challenging to prove, or the guilty party may resist admitting responsibility. It is essential to know how to prove you are not at fault in a car accident so you can avoid being held financially responsible.
Unfortunately, matters of fault can become significant roadblocks to both the insurance claim and civil litigation process. In some instances, uncertainty about fault can be used by insurance companies to offer smaller settlements. The team at James Horne Law PA can guide you through the process of proving fault and getting the compensation you are entitled to.
Who Pays for a Car Accident in Florida?
In a minor accident or fender bender, determining fault may not be a big deal. Florida follows a “no-fault” system for vehicle accidents, which means that each driver files a claim with their own insurance company regardless of who caused the accident. However, there are exceptions for serious accidents, and if one applies, you will need to know how to prove you are not at fault in a car accident.
Personal Injury Protection
Florida requires every driver to have personal injury protection, also called “PIP.” This is the minimum required by law. It covers up to $10,000 for injuries, though there are some limitations. PIP will cover up to 80% of necessary medical treatment and 60% of lost income if you are unable to work because of your injury.
Exceptions to No-Fault Insurance
Claims for vehicle damage or loss not covered by PIP could be filed against the at-fault driver. If injuries are deemed serious by Florida standards, you may also be permitted to file a claim against the negligent party. According to state law, a serious injury is a “physical condition that creates a substantial risk of death, serious personal disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ.”
How Can I Prove I Am Not At Fault In a Car Accident?
How do you prove you are not at fault in a car accident? Proving you are not at fault requires evidence. In some cases, evidence is easy to obtain. But in others, it is more difficult. Assuming that the accident has already occurred, our experienced legal team is happy to conduct an independent investigation and gather the evidence needed for determining fault in a car accident. Here is a breakdown of some of the most impactful pieces of evidence.
The Police Report
Any time a vehicle accident occurs, you should contact local law enforcement. The officer will use the report to record important information like location, date, time, witness contact information, and what they believe caused the accident.
The police officer may have taken statements or gathered witness contact information. Eyewitness testimony is a great way to determine what occurred. If you have a way to reach witnesses, consider at least emailing them shortly after the accident and asking them to send you a write-up of what they saw. This can also help refresh their memories later.
Traffic Camera Footage
If the accident occurred in or near an intersection, a traffic camera may have recorded it. The same may be true for security cameras in parking lots. It is worth checking to see if the incident was recorded.
You do not have to be a professional photographer to take presentable photographs of the accident scene. Any photos you have of the accident could be admissible as evidence and could be especially helpful if they show the angles of the vehicles and the damage.
The Importance of Determining Fault in a Car Accident
In some cases, you may be partially responsible for the accident. That fact does not bar you from legal recovery under Florida’s modified comparative negligence system. You can still file a claim as long as you are not more than 50% responsible for the accident. Your award will be reduced by the percentage you are deemed at fault. For example, if you were awarded $100,000 and found to be 10% at fault, you would receive $90,000. The other party’s legal team or insurance provider will almost always try to make it seem like you are more liable than you really are, which is why it is important to have effective legal representation.
Never accept blame for something you were not responsible for, and never accept a settlement that is less than what you deserve. At Jame Horne Law PA, we are ready to help determine how to prove you are not at fault in a car accident and get the most from your accident claim. Our firm is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and has a perfect 10.0 rating on Avvo. Contact us to get started today.