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What kinds of fault are there and how is it determined?

How is fault determined in a car accident? What can you do if you were hurt by someone else who is claiming it was actually you at fault?

Fortunately, placing the blame on others doesn't make them liable. An investigation is performed by police, and after interviewing witnesses and the drivers involved, the party at fault can be determined. That being said, determining fault can still be difficult.

In most states, your car insurance will be fault based. There are some states that are no-fault states, too. Depending on where your accident takes place, you may be able to seek compensation from the other party, or you may be required to carry your own personal injury protection that you need to claim against. In Pennsylvania, for example, PIP insurance is used to cover an injured person's medical care. California, on the other hand, does require fault to be determined in most cases, although PIP insurance is available to drivers.

The first thing that has to happen after your crash is an investigation to determine who caused the accident. Sometimes, someone will admit fault, and that can save the trouble of fighting over it; if not, then the police and witnesses will work together to determine fault.

Once it's determined, you may be found to be at fault, the other driver may be at fault, or you may both be at fault in a comparative negligence situation. With comparative negligence, for instance, you could be 10 percent responsible for the crash while the other party is 90 percent responsible.

Determining fault and making sure you get the right compensation can be tricky, which is why an attorney can be a good guide during your case. Whether you're claiming against a driver or your own insurance, negotiations will need to take place.

Source: Esurance, "the blame game: how fault is determined after a car accident," accessed Feb. 24, 2016

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