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How Do Insurance Companies Determine Who Is at Fault in an Auto Accident?

Here is how insurance companies generally determine which driver is at fault after a car accident in St. Louis, Missouri.

Determining which driver is at fault for an accident is critical. If you are at fault for an accident, your insurance may have to cover the other driver’s damages and injuries. However, in many accidents, the drivers dispute fault. Here is how insurance companies generally determine which driver is at fault in Missouri.

insurance examining accident damage

What Damages Could Be Paid Out?

If you are found to be at fault for a car accident, damages your insurance may have to pay out might include (but are not limited to):

  • Lost income
  • Emotional distress and suffering
  • Injuries occurred at the crash
  • Injuries sustained by a passenger in the other vehicle
  • Damages to the other driver’s car
  • Damages to your own car

What Does the State of Missouri Look for When Determining Fault?

The state of Missouri looks at several criteria to determine fault. Here are a few things that might be considered a reason for fault:

1. Negligence – did one driver fail to look before merging? Lack of appropriate caution could be grounds for being at fault in an accident.

2. Recklessness  – was one driver speeding or driving dangerously?

3. Intentional Misconduct – a driver was intentionally trying to hurt someone.

When a judge or insurance company is trying to determine fault, they might also examine police reports, photos of the accident and listen to each driver’s testimony. 

This is why after an accident, you should take photos of the scene and notify the police.

Missouri Is a Comparative Fault State

Because Missouri is a comparative fault state, it’s not as simple as one driver being 100% responsible for an accident. For example, a court may find you 66% responsible for an accident. It’s important to understand that this isn’t an exact science. The tricky thing with comparative fault is that it’s often difficult to put an exact number on how much each driver contributed.

 If someone rear-ends you, they are not automatically 90% at fault. It can turn into you (and the other party) arguing with your insurance company about exactly how much you were at fault.

Determining Fault Can Be a Difficult and Complex Argument

A car accident can be physically and mentally taxing. Fighting with your insurance company or a jury to establish fault is another worry on top of your problems. One of the first steps we recommend you take after a St. Louis car accident is to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer for a free case evaluation. An experienced attorney can help take this burden off you and fight to protect your legal rights after an accident.

Free Consultation with a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer

Don’t talk to an insurance claims adjuster before speaking with The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. We can help you avoid making statements that may affect the outcome of your case. The consultation is free; you don’t pay unless we get you money!

Free Consultation (314) 361-4242
Updated: November 4, 2022