If you’re in a car accident, your insurance claim might be rejected if you’re assigned blame for the accident. This makes it important to dispute it if the other driver is claiming that you are at fault. It’s usually not clear-cut as to who was responsible for an auto accident, which leaves plenty of room for hard negotiations. Find out what you can do to dispute fault after your accident so you’re not stuck paying for expenses you shouldn’t owe.
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How Insurance Companies Determine Fault
When determining fault for an accident, insurance companies use state laws, the details of your accident, and a police report, if there is one, to make their own determination of who was at-fault or negligent, and will then decide how much compensation they will offer.
Arizona also uses a doctrine known as pure comparative negligence to assign fault and determine how much compensation drivers can receive after an accident. Under this system, it’s possible for all drivers involved in an accident to share some blame. However, drivers will still be able to recoup some amount of their losses, even if it's a very small amount.
No-fault Vehicle Accidents
Some states have no-fault accident laws where an injured party’s own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance will cover personal injuries. But in these no-fault states, insurance companies will still assign fault to drivers for body damage to a vehicle.
At-fault Vehicle Accident
Like most states in the U.S., Arizona is an at-fault state for vehicle accidents. This means drivers must press their car accident compensation claims directly with another driver’s insurance company.
How to Dispute Fault
After an accident, you’ll need to file a claim with your insurance company. A claims adjuster will then come out to examine your car and work with your insurer to determine how much compensation you’ll be offered. They will also determine to what degree you were at fault, which will impact how much money you’ll get from your claim. If you’ve been assigned fault in an accident, it’s important to take the following steps to dispute it as soon as possible.
Correct the Police Report
The police report from your accident will be a primary document that your insurance company uses to help determine who was at fault in your accident. Obtain a copy of it as soon as possible after your accident. If you notice any inaccuracies with it, contact the police with supporting evidence to have them update the report with the correct information about the accident.
Contact the Insurance Company
The first step you should take is to write a letter to your insurance company explaining what happened during your accident and where the insurance company went wrong in their assessment. Be sure to include as much information and supporting documentation as possible, including photographs, witness testimony, and any documents you may have from the police. Speak with your adjuster and, if necessary, their superiors to play out your case.
Contact a Lawyer
If your insurance company doesn’t adjust your claim based on the evidence you provided, contact a lawyer who specializes in car accidents. They can help you continue your dispute with the car company and can represent you if you decide to sue.
Contact the Arizona Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions
If all else fails, you may wish to contact the Arizona Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions with a complaint against your insurance company. They can then investigate your claim and determine the best course of action moving forward. However, they can’t award you a settlement and can only determine if your insurance company is following correct procedures in evaluating your claim.
Restore Your Vehicle Back to Brand New
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, it doesn't matter who was at-fault: you still need your vehicle fixed. Finding the right body shop to repair your vehicle can be a challenge, as you want your car back to looking how it did before the accident. At Flagstaff Collision Center, we use factory-grade equipment and certified specialists to bring your car back to the way you remember it (or better). With 35 years of industry experience in collision repair, we have all the tools and knowledge needed to beautifully restore your car after an accident. Contact us for a free estimate!