asked Feb 25 '12 at 18:56
When determining fault, insurance companies and the legal community to use the term liability.
Responsibility equivalent really to blame when it comes to car accidents. Responsibility in turn is equivalent to neglect. They use these terms interchangeably, so please do not be confused by the terminology.
When adjusters look at fault, they are really looking to the legal concept of negligence.
Negligence is a tort, which is defined as a tort. When someone wrongs (hits your car), then someone has committed a tort against you. This means you can take them to a civil court for redress.
Why is this important?
It is important because tort law is what determines and dictates how insurance companies look at car accidents. The bottom line is that the tort of negligence LACK a very important - INTENT.
When dealing with car accidents, we assume that no one has tried or intended to cause a crash or a shipwreck. If the accident was caused by an intentional blow, the analysis does not fall within the field of negligence. It would still be a civil wrong, but it would be called an intentional tort - of course if it is intentional then it's not an accident.
Assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, trespass, false imprisonment, and conversion are all intentional torts. They can also enter
the field of criminal law.
If you can demonstrate (prove in a court of law) that the accident was intentional, the person responsible can go to jail for assault (criminal assault) and be sued in civil court for damages (intentional tort assault).
Most car accidents are in the tort of negligence. Accordance with the law (United States Supreme Court decisions), to prove that someone was negligent, there are certain elements that must be submitted by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely).
These elements are: breach of duty + + causation + damage = negligence
Therefore, the insurance company must prove by the same standard (preponderance of evidence) that all the above existed. If they are successful, then there is negligence and therefore fault is assigned.
Remember that the fault or negligence will not have to be an all or nothing preposition. Percentages are often used to attribute fault to both drivers (ie driver A is 20% at fault and Drive B is 80%).
However, after the negligence and wrongdoing is determined awarded to each driver, then your state law will work. Your state law will determine how the percentage of negligence should be treated.
It is very important to determine whether your state follows a pure comparative negligence contributory or comparative negligence regime change (I'll explain them all here).
This answer is marked "community wiki".