Know the Rules: Who is at Fault After a Car Accident

Know the Rules: Who is at Fault After a Car Accident - TJ Woods - Worcester, MAAlthough car accidents are rare, they do happen, and they can be costly for either one or both parties. The way to determine who foots this bill is understanding who is at fault. It is absolutely essential to determine who is at fault in a car accident, otherwise an innocent driver might have to pay an exorbitant amount for something they did not cause. The person who is at fault may also have to pay for the other parties’ medical bills, damages to the car, and see his or her insurance premiums increase. So here is how to determine fault after a car accident.

What Does it Mean To Be At Fault?

In Massachusetts, you are at fault for a car accident if your driving behavior was more than 50 percent of the reason for the accident. Again this is vitally important to determine how much money one needs to pay. If you get charged with fault your insurance premiums will most likely rise, and you will potentially need to fund the other person’s car and medical bills. This is true for all motor vehicle accidents, although there are slightly different consequences when it comes to motorcycles and commercial vehicles.

That Seems Rather Arbitrary, Who Determines This?

Due to the nature of proving who’s at fault, this issue is usually settled within a courtroom, with both sides using photos, witnesses, reports, and physical evidence to prove their case. The Massachusetts courts determine who is at fault in a motor vehicle accident, but there are a few pre-defined accident situations that allow insurance companies to assume who is at fault in a given situation. Here are a few situations where the driver is automatically at fault:

  • Colliding with a person or parked car
  • Rear ending another vehicle
  • Failure to signal
  • Failure to obey a traffic signal
  • Colliding with someone while going the wrong way on a street
  • Colliding with someone while backing up
  • Colliding with someone while merging onto the highway (the person trying to get onto the highway is always at fault)
  • Colliding with a party while making a left turn

What If My Accident Does Not Fall Into That Category?

If your accident does not qualify for an automatic determination, you then have to prove your case why you were not 50 percent or more reason for the accident. Ways to prove this can include photos right after the accident, witness accounts, or a police report from the accident. If you do end up going to court, or just want to play it safe even without a court appearance, seek legal counsel to learn what your options are.

Hopefully this provided some helpful insight into determining fault after a car accident. If you have any more questions or need car insurance, contact the professionals at TJ Woods Insurance Agency. Our expert insurance agents will devote themselves to make sure you have all your questions answered and have the best coverage possible.