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At Fault Accident: What to Know

At Fault Accident

An at fault accident is when a driver is negligent and causes a collision. The driver at fault must pay for the other driver’s repair costs and medical bills through their car insurance. Their insurance company will raise the driver’s insurance premium by as much as 48%. If you’re want to know more about fault during an accident, we’ve got you covered. By the end of this post, you’ll have all the information you need about at fault car accidents.

What Does an At Fault Accident Mean?

First, you need to understand that states handle car accidents differently. There are 38 at fault states and 12 no fault states. If you’re in an at fault state, that means insurance adjusters decide which driver is to blame. The driver whose at fault is considered negligent and has to cover all the accident expenses. Since the at fault driver has insurance they will not have to pay out-of-pocket for damages. Their insurance premium will go up since they are more likely to get into an accident and risky to cover.

What Are No Fault Accidents?

In the 12 states with no fault laws, the driver’s own insurance pays for their medical bills if they suffer an injury. It doesn’t matter who is at fault. These states require personal injury protection (PIP), a type of car insurance that pays medical bills.

It’s difficult to sue another driver in no fault states. There are circumstances a driver can sue another. If there is damaged property or excessive medical bills, states allow civil litigation.

How is Fault Determined in a Car Accident?

Insurance adjusters do an investigation. They take several forms of evidence into account, which are:

  • Witness statements
  • Police report
  • Citations
  • Dashcam footage
  • Location of the vehicle
  • Position of the vehicle
  • Images
  • The vehicle damage

Depending on the state, the negligence laws determine the outcome. States vary on which negligence laws are available. There are five types of negligence that states might follow.

  • Pure contributory negligence: If it is proven the driver contributed to the accident at all, the driver will receive no compensation for damages.
  • Pure comparative negligence: This law means you can seek compensation for losses in relation to your percentage of negligence. If a driver is 40% at fault, they can seek 60% of your expenses from the other driver. This is the law Illinois adopted.
  • Modified comparative compensation: If the driver is considered 50% or 51% responsible for the accident, they can not file a claim.
  • Slight vs. gross negligence: When the driver is slightly at fault compared to the other driver, they can seek payment for damages.


What Should You Do if You’re in an Accident That’s Your Fault?

  • The same thing you would do if you were the victim of an accident.
  • Call 911
  • Do not admit you were at fault
  • Get the driver’s information
  • Take pictures and notes
  • File a claim with your insurance

How Long Do Car Accidents Stay on My Record?

A car accident is on your record for 3-5 years.

Will a Collision Affect my Insurance Costs?

Yes. Your insurance premium will increase. How much your insurance goes up depends on the insurance company, the state, and your record as a whole.

Even if you have a driving record with some blemishes, you still need auto insurance, and that’s where Insurance Navy can help. Call 888-949-6289 or get cheap car insurance quotes online today. Quotes are offered at no cost to you. Need further assistance? Stop in at one of our conveniently-located storefronts.

Updated: December 2023

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