THE OTHER DRIVER IS CLAIMING I AM PARTIALLY AT FAULT, WHAT CAN I DO?
The moment your car is hit or strikes another vehicle is a life-changing moment. Whether or not you suffer major injuries is irrelevant, because your life is changed forever in this moment. Injuries aside, it’s not uncommon for drivers to develop anxiety on the road, nervousness in any vehicle, and it’s not uncommon for an accident to cause you to develop stress. This could be personal stress, medical stress, or financial stress. When an accident is your fault, the stress is even worse. When it’s not your fault, you might experience fear, sadness, outrage, and anxiousness. When another driver is negligent and causes an accident, he or she might try to place the blame on you.
What happens when the at-fault driver claims the accident in which you were involved is partially your fault? The first thing you’ll experience is confusion. Then you’ll experience anger and outrage. How dare another driver accuse you of being responsible in part for an accident he or she so clearly caused? It’s completely normal to experience a flood of emotion in this moment, including shock someone would attempt to place blame on you. Now you’re wondering what you can do, and that’s one of the most common questions personal injury attorneys hear following an accident and partial placement of blame.
What You Can Do
The good news is someone can’t really place the blame partially on you if the evidence states otherwise. What you can do to avoid this kind of blame is follow correct procedure following an accident. You’ll want to call the police immediately after being involved in an accident. Once you call the police, do the following:
– Get out of your car
– Don’t move your car
– Take ample photos
– See if any witnesses are present
– Present your side of the story to the police
– Be honest
– Seek medical attention
If you don’t report an accident to the police, you lose out on a police report. Most insurance companies place drivers at-fault due to the information they find in the police report. If the at-fault driver is attempting to blame you for the accident, a police report can prevent that from occurring. Without a report, his or her insurance company is more likely to deny the fact they were to blame. This could mean no payout for you.
If the driver of the other vehicle attempts to place blame on you following the accident, present the police report from the scene as evidence. This is the information most commonly used to place blame in the first place, so it’s irrefutable. Police reports are honest, unbiased, and based on fact, photos, and other evidence. You can add your own photos to the report, if you’d like.
While you’re on the scene of the accident, see if any of the witnesses around you are willing to provide you with their contact information and story. They might not seem that important right away, but these people might play a huge role in getting you off the hook for the accident later. Keep this information with the police report and photo from the accident, and use them if you deem necessary.
Never Admit Fault
The number one legal rule in any accident is to avoid admitting fault. Even if you are uncertain whether you are to blame for the accident or not, say nothing. Present only the facts at the time of the accident, and let the police do the work figuring out who is to blame. You might be innocent based on something you didn’t even notice at the time, such as someone’s faulty brakes, negligence, or other issue. Don’t admit fault at the scene, or even allude to the fact that you might have stopped short or caused the accident in any way. If you admit this and you’re wrong, you might be held partially responsible.
Stay calm. When someone else blames you for the accident they caused, it’s not uncommon. No one wants to pay the money to repair your car, and no one’s insurance company wants to be at-fault. The best thing you can do is stay calm and potentially contact an attorney. You might not know your rights and what’s required of you, but your attorney can help you in ways you weren’t even aware of at the time of your accident.