Car Accident Personal Injury Claim Process

If you've recently suffered a car accident injury and are seeking an auto accident settlement, then the question of responsibility will greatly affect the amount of money you are paid. For instance, if it is determined that you are 20% responsible for the accident, then the claims adjuster will reduce your damages payment by 20%.

It used to be that if you were 100% responsible for the accident, you wouldn't see ANY money from your claim. But the good news is, nowadays, most states have some form of "comparative negligence" that proportions out the blame so that even if it's all your fault, you will be able to recuperate some damages.

If, deep down you know you are responsible for the accident, then if you be good to do some additional research on the types of designations that insurance companies classify: proportional comparative fault at 50%, proportional comparative fault (PCF) at 51% and pure comparative fault. But note -- this varies wildly state to state.

The simplest way to understand these designations is that 51% PCF means you were more responsible than the other person, 50% PCF typically means both parties were responsible (and therefore may not receive damages) and pure comparative fault is, yup, you guessed -- all one person or another.

The first step is to ask your claims adjuster at your insurance company to determine the relative degree of fault. Fortunately it's not set in stone. You can argue your case can get their initial estimate changed. If they stick to their guns and don't change their estimate (and you feel they're wrong) then guess what, its time to get an attorney.

If you've ever heard of No Fault insurance, then I'm sure you now see how this relates. If you have it, then it doesn't matter much if you were determined to be at fault. But if you didn't get it before the accident, well, better luck next time.

Of course, one scenario we haven't addressed yet is when the accident is entirely someone else's fault and in that case - ka-ching! Maybe. You still have the other person's insurance company to contend with.

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