What Happens If I Am At Fault for a Car Accident?

Clayton T. Hasbrook

Written by Clayton T. Hasbrook. Last modified on February 15, 2024

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What Happens If I Am At Fault for a Car Accident?

Being at fault in a car accident can be a stressful and confusing experience. It’s important to understand the steps you need to take and the potential consequences you may face. If you are deemed responsible for an accident, you may have legal and financial responsibilities to fulfill.

At Hasbrook & Hasbrook, we know how serious car accidents can be. If you are blamed for the accident, you might have to cover the other driver’s medical bills. Your car insurance rates are likely to increase. You could even face a lawsuit from the other driver if you don’t have enough liability insurance. After a car crash, you need our car accident lawyers to help you. If a motor vehicle accident occurs, seek medical care first. Then, contact us to schedule a case consultation.

Understanding Your Liability and Legal Obligations

When you’re at fault in a car accident, you’re legally responsible for the damage caused. This includes property damage and any injuries sustained by other parties. Oklahoma follows the “at-fault” insurance system, meaning the person who caused the accident is liable for covering the damages. It’s essential to understand what this liability means for you.

Your car insurance policy will play a critical role in addressing these liabilities. Most policies include liability coverage, which helps cover costs for the other party’s damages and injuries. However, there are limits to this coverage, and amounts beyond these limits may be your responsibility. Being aware of the details of your insurance policy is essential in these situations. Reach out to us if you have questions about how this impacts your case.

Navigating Insurance Claims as the At-Fault Driver

Navigating Insurance Claims as the At-Fault Driver

Dealing with insurance claims as the at-fault driver requires prompt action and transparency. You must inform your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. If neglected, complications may arise and potential coverage denial.

Reporting the Accident to Your Insurance Company

It’s crucial to report the accident to your insurance company immediately. Please provide them with all the necessary details about the incident. This includes the date, time, location, and a brief description of what happened. Be honest and factual in your report; inaccuracies can lead to problems later.

In your report, include any police report numbers and the contact information of all involved parties. Don’t admit fault or provide more information than what’s asked. Let the insurance adjusters investigate and determine fault based on the facts. Your insurance company will walk you through their specific process for handling claims.

Understanding How Your Premiums May Be Affected

It’s common for car insurance premiums to increase after an at-fault accident. Insurance companies view at-fault drivers as higher risks, which often leads to higher rates. The extent of the increase depends on factors like your driving history and the severity of the accident.

Sometimes, your insurer may even choose not to renew your policy. This is more likely if you have a history of accidents or serious traffic violations. Talking to your insurance agent about how an at-fault accident might affect your policy and rates is important.

Dealing With Claims Made by the Other Party

When you’re at fault in an accident, the other party may file a claim against your insurance for damages and injuries. Your insurance company will handle these claims on your behalf. They will assess the damages, negotiate settlements, and pay out claims within your policy’s coverage limits.

If the other party’s damages exceed your insurance coverage limits, you might be personally liable for the excess amount. The other party may take legal action to recover these costs. It’s essential to be prepared for this possibility and seek legal advice if needed. Reach out to our team to make sure you are ready.

Potential for Traffic Citations or Legal Penalties

Potential for Traffic Citations or Legal Penalties

Being at fault in a car accident can lead to traffic citations or legal penalties, especially if you violated traffic laws. Citations can include fines, points on your driving record, or even a court appearance. These penalties vary depending on the offense’s severity and driving history.

In more severe cases, such as accidents involving serious injuries or fatalities, you could face criminal charges, including vehicular manslaughter. Legal penalties for these offenses can be significant. Consequences may include fines, license suspension, or even jail time. It’s crucial to take any legal notices or citations seriously and respond appropriately.

The Role of Comparative Negligence in Your Case

 

Oklahoma operates under a “comparative negligence” system. This means that in an accident, each party’s level of fault is considered. It can affect the compensation you owe or receive if you’re found partially at fault. For example, if you’re deemed 70% at fault, you may be responsible for 70% of the damages.

The other party’s negligence will also be considered. If they are found to be partly at fault, it can reduce the amount they can claim from you. Understanding how comparative negligence works is important in determining your financial responsibilities.

Financial Implications of Being At Fault

Being at fault in a car accident often leads to financial implications. These include covering the costs for damages and injuries and potential increases in your insurance premiums. It’s essential to be aware of these potential costs and prepare accordingly.

Covering Costs for Damages and Injuries

Covering Costs for Damages and Injuries

If you’re at fault, you’ll likely be responsible for damages to the other party’s vehicle, property, and any medical expenses resulting from injuries. Your insurance will cover these costs up to the limit of your policy. However, any expenses beyond these limits might be your responsibility.

In cases where injuries are serious, the costs can escalate quickly. This can include long-term medical care, rehabilitation, and lost wages. Being financially prepared for these potential expenses is crucial. It’s also important to understand the limits and exclusions of your insurance policy.

Facing Potential Personal Lawsuits

Sometimes, the other party may file a lawsuit against you for damages exceeding your insurance coverage. This can happen in cases of severe injury or significant property damage. Facing a lawsuit can be daunting, and the financial implications can be substantial.

In such situations, it’s vital to seek legal representation. Your attorney will walk with you through the legal process, defend your interests, and negotiate settlements. Remember, a lawsuit doesn’t automatically mean you’ll have to pay; your lawyer will work to protect your rights and minimize your financial exposure.

Managing Increased Insurance Premiums

One of the long-term financial implications of being at fault is the potential increase in your insurance premiums. Insurance companies often raise rates after an at-fault accident, seeing you as a higher risk. The increase may differ based on your insurance company’s policies and driving history.

Sometimes, shopping around for new insurance can help you find better rates. However, it is important to be transparent about your accident history when seeking new insurance.

How to Communicate with Other Involved Parties

How to Communicate with Other Involved Parties

  • Exchange Information Calmly: After an accident, exchange contact and insurance information with the other party. Remain calm and polite, but avoid discussing the fault or details of the accident.
  • Document the Scene: Document the accident scene by taking photos, specifically focusing on the damage to all vehicles. Note the location, time, and any relevant road conditions or traffic signs.
  • Contact Authorities: Inform the police about the accident, particularly if there are injuries or significant damage. A police report can be crucial in insurance claims and legal matters.
  • Inform Your Insurance Company: Notify your insurance company about the accident immediately. Please provide them with all the relevant details and documentation.
  • Seek Legal Advice if Necessary: If the situation escalates or you face legal action, consult a lawyer. They can guide you on communication with the other party and their insurer.

Seeking Legal Advice for At-Fault Accidents

If you’re at fault in a car accident, seeking legal advice is wise. A car crash lawyer can help you understand your rights and responsibilities. Your attorney will also help you deal with insurance claims and potential lawsuits.

Legal advice is critical if serious injuries or significant property damage are involved. A trained attorney can protect your interests and navigate any legal complexities. They can also assist in negotiating settlements and represent you in court if necessary.

Strategies to Mitigate the Impact on Your Driving Record

  • Attend Defensive Driving Courses: Completing a defensive driving course can improve your driving skills and may help reduce points on your driving record.
  • Follow Traffic Laws Diligently: Following all traffic laws meticulously after an at-fault accident is crucial. This helps prevent further accidents and demonstrates responsible driving.
  • Consider Safe Driving Technologies: Utilize technologies like dash cams or safe driving apps. These can help improve your driving habits and provide evidence in case of future incidents.

Reach Out To Hasbrook & Hasbrook for Your Oklahoma City Car Accident Lawyer

Reach Out To Hasbrook & Hasbrook for Your Oklahoma City Car Accident Lawyer

Navigating the aftermath can be challenging if you’re at fault in a car accident. Hasbrook & Hasbrook is here to support you through this process. Our law office is dedicated to protecting your rights, and we would be honored to help you.

We offer personalized legal advice tailored to your situation. Whether it’s dealing with insurance claims, facing potential lawsuits to recover compensation, or protecting your driving record, we’re here to help. Contact us today for a consultation and confidently take the first step in handling your at-fault car accident.

Fact-Checked

This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by Founding Partner, Clayton T. Hasbrook who has years of legal experience as a personal injury lawyer. Our last modified date shows when this page was last reviewed.