What to Do in a 'No Fault' Accident

When you are in a car accident, usually someone is found to be at fault. This may be due to inattentive driving or violating traffic laws, even minor ones. When the officer files his incident report, that person will do their best to assign fault to one driver or the other based on the evidence.

At Fault Laws in Utah

Utah is unique, because it’s one of the 12 states that has a no-fault insurance system. This means that even if you are the injured party, or the person not at fault, you can pursue compensation from your own insurance company until you receive a settlement from the other person’s insurance company, provided the damages you have suffered meet certain thresholds.

In other words, if your medical injuries are under $3,000 your insurance company will pay, regardless of who is at fault. They can seek compensation from the other insurance company.

However, if damages are greater than the $3,000 limit, you do have a claim, but your insurance company will receive the money they spent on your behalf before you get paid for your expenses.

This keeps minor claims out of the court system and prevents huge settlements for minor accidents. You will still get paid if you are not at fault, and a good automotive accident attorney can advise you of your rights and ensure that you get the settlement you deserve.

Proving You Are not at Fault

How do you prove you are not at fault and the other driver was? The most important thing is to document the scene carefully at the time of the accident. Take photos and notes on your phone, and get a copy of the police report. Here are some keys to consider.

  • Negligence: if you can prove the other driver was negligent or not paying attention (and you were) you can prove you are not at fault.
  • Breaking the law: if the other driver broke the law in some way, even if it seems minor, it is easier to prove you are not at fault.
  • The nature of the accident: In cases like a rear end collision, or a left turn accident, fault is usually pretty clearly assigned.

The better you document the scene yourself, the better chance you have to prove fault in case you need to do so.

Liability: Owner of the Car vs. The Driver of the Car

This depends on a number of factors, and is seldom an easy question to answer. The best Idea is to meet with an auto accident attorney who knows the specific laws.

In part, this depends on whether the driver has liability insurance of their own. Still, in most cases the car owner’s insurance is most often the one that pays out if the person using their car is in an accident.

Even if the other person has insurance, it is a good bet that coverage will be secondary to the car owner’s. It will be utilized after that coverage has been exhausted.

How much that driver is covered for is dependent on the wording of the insurance policy, so it can be complicated to figure out the exact liability and who pays for what in these cases.

Loaning Your Car to Another Driver

Before you loan your car to another driver, be sure you know some very important things. That way, you will be aware of your liability if they are in an accident:

  • What does your policy say about the coverage of other drivers?
  • What kind of insurance do they have, and does it follow them no matter what car they drive?
  • What are the limits of both insurance policies, and who will pay for repairs to your car?

As you can see, this topic can get complex quickly. If you have an accident and it is not your fault, you may want to contact an auto accident attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights. Even if someone else was driving your car, the advice of a good attorney might save you money and headaches in the long run.

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