No one prepares for automobile accidents. Instead, you are left in shock, wondering what happens next. You should get medical help (if necessary) and make a report to the police. Once you and everyone else is okay, it’s time to figure out who was at fault for what happened. This is an important question because determining who is at fault will determine if you will receive compensation for your accident. Here’s more about how fault is proven and why this is important in Nebraska.
How Do You Determine Fault?
In Nebraska, fault is proven by examining three areas:
All of that verbiage is pretty abstract, so let’s take a look at a case. First of all, every driver owes every other person a duty of care. This simply means that you need to drive responsibly, obey laws, respect weather conditions, and ignore your phone. The answer to the first question outlined above will almost always be “yes.”
The answers to the second and third questions vary by situation, so let’s take a look at an example. Let’s say it’s raining outside. The car in front of you stops and, when you come to a stop, you’re a little bit closer to the car in front of you than you should be. Unfortunately, the car behind you doesn’t stop in time and hits you. Because you are too close to the car in front of you, you rear-end them. Who is at fault?
You already know the car that rear-ended you is to fault for hitting you. However, if you were stopped too close to the car in front of you, you could be partially responsible for that accident, too.
What If You’re Partially at Fault?
Nebraska is a “comparative negligence state.” This means that if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident, you will receive only a partial payment from the insurance company.
Let’s think back to our earlier example. If you were stopped too close to the car in front of you, it could be decided you were 30% to blame. This would mean that your payout from the insurance company would be 70% of the total claim. However, if it was determined that you were 50% to blame, you would not receive any money from the other insurance company.
How Is Fault Proven?
Fault can be proven in a couple of different ways. Police reports often give insight into who is at fault. They do not, however, know and express all the facts of the case. Even if a police report indicates that you are at fault, you can still prove that you are not.
In the unlikely instance that an auto accident case goes to court, a judge or jury could hear the facts and decide who is at fault. More often, fault is determined when insurance adjusters talk and negotiate what they will and will not pay. In these situations, you want to have a lawyer to represent you. Remember, your insurance adjuster is not there to represent you and your best interests. He or she is there to represent the company.
Have You Been in an Auto Accident?
If you have been in an auto accident, you need a qualified lawyer on your side. At Inkelaar Law, we can help you communicate the facts of your case to get the settlement you deserve. Give us a call today at (877) 537-4665 or contact us online to learn how we can help.