As you may or may not know, California follows a system of pure comparative negligence, which means that you can recover damages even if you were at fault for contributing to a car accident.
As you can imagine, the system of pure comparative negligence can be rather tricky and confusing, which is why many readers of our blog, here at Law Offices of Howard Kornberg, ask our car crash lawyer: “How do insurance companies determine fault in car crashes involving shared liability?”
In other words, if both parties are to blame for the accident, what procedure do insurers follow to determine who was liable for the car accident and what amount of compensation the parties should receive as part of their settlement if any?
How a claims adjuster works to deny or minimize your claim
After a car accident in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California, you will have to contact your insurance company and the insurer of the other motorist(s) in order to notify them of your injuries and damages. After the insurance company has been notified of the car accident, it will assign a claims adjuster to your case in order to investigate it and establish liability.
The claims adjuster has the responsibility to establish liability and determine which party was at fault for the accident and whether your personal injury claim should be approved and paid or denied.
The importance of being legally represented by a car accident lawyer in Los Angeles at this point of your case cannot be overstated, because a claims adjuster will employ a vast arsenal of tactics to deny or minimize your claim. Claims adjusters are trained to find non-existent reasons to deny or undervalue personal injury claims, which is why you should not be surprised if the adjuster assigned to your case calls you on the phone and starts asking all kinds of questions, even those not even remotely related to the car crash.
What the claims adjuster is doing is trying to put you on the spot and take advantage of your ignorance and lack of experience and knowledge. Claims adjusters are capable of asking provocative questions to get you to admit fault and either reduce the value of your claim or deny your claim altogether.
After all, car accidents involving shared liability, when multiple parties share fault, are easy prey for insurance companies. That’s why it is paramount that you let your Los Angeles car accident lawyer handle all the talking and negotiations with the claims adjuster, insurance companies, and other parties involved.
How do insurance companies determine fault in car accidents with shared liability?
But let’s get back to our original question. How do insurance companies determine fault in car crashes where multiple parties are at fault? These are the procedural elements a claims adjuster is expected to follow to determine fault and establish liability:
- Reviewing the police report: A police report after a car accident contains statements that can help establish liability. In addition to that, police reports include chemical tests performed at the scene, if any, as well as a plethora of other valuable details.
- Double-checking your statements: The claims adjuster assigned to your case will take a close look at the statements you provided at the scene of the car accident as well as those provided by you when filing a personal injury claim. More likely than not, the adjuster will reach out to you and ask you to give a recorded statement to clarify something. Do NOT agree to give any recorded statements to insurance companies.
- Contacting witnesses and other parties involved: It would be naïve to think that your insurance company will trust your word. Rather, it will speak to as many people as possible to find any contradictions in your statements.
- Getting expert witnesses onboard: One of the most common ways to deny or devalue a claim after a car accident involving shared liability is to get statements and evaluations from expert witnesses such as an accident reconstruction expert.
- Using other evidence: Claims adjusters can go the extra mile and review all available evidence to prove that you are more at fault for the accident than you claim. Other types of evidence that can be reviewed and used by a claims adjuster include surveillance footage, black box data, witnesses’ photos, videos, and many more.
Do not let your insurance company do what it does best: deny or devalue your claim. Hire an experienced car accident attorney in Los Angeles, Riverside, or elsewhere in California to make sure that you are getting the compensation you deserve, even if multiple parties were liable for the crash. Get a free consultation by contacting the Law Offices of Howard Kornberg. Call 310-997-0904 today.