Maybe you know the general steps to take after getting in a car accident, but what happens if you’re not at fault? Do you have to pay for the damages, or does the other driver? We’re here to answer these questions for you.
As the leading car accident, motorcycle accident, and truck accident lawyer in Arizona and Utah, Esquire Law is the name you can trust to provide expert legal advice and fight for your rights after a not-at-fault car accident. Keep reading to learn about how the post-accident process works.
Understanding Not-At-Fault Car Accidents
A not-at-fault car accident is one in which the injured party did not cause the accident—i.e. they’re not at fault and bear no financial responsibility for injuries or damages.
The at-fault driver must pay for all injuries and damages resulting from the accident. If this driver has an insurance policy, their insurance company will cover the costs.
Proving Innocence in a Car Accident
The last thing you want to do after getting in a car accident is have to pay for damages that someone else caused. That’s why knowing what to do after a car accident that wasn’t your fault is essential. Here are the three steps you should take to prove your innocence after an accident.
1. Take photos and videos
Be thorough when taking photos and videos at the scene, and make sure they’re clear. Document any damage from various angles to provide a clear picture of the entire scene.
2. Gather witness statements
Get statements from all witnesses of the accident. This includes other drivers, passengers, and any bystanders. Get their first and last names and contact information in case your attorney or insurance company needs to follow up with them later.
3. Obtain a copy of the police report
Even if the accident is minor, call the local police. The police will gather witness statements and conduct a thorough police report documenting the accident. If any involved parties pursue legal action, the police report will be used as evidence to help determine fault. Your insurance company will also use the police report to process your accident claim. Note the names and badge numbers of any police officers who respond to the crash.
One thing to keep in mind is that the police don’t always respond to car accidents, particularly minor ones. In the case that police officers don’t respond to the crash scene, you can file an accident report through your local DMV. Your insurance provider can use this report in place of an official police report when filing your claim.
Dealing With Your Insurance Company & Adjuster After a Not-At-Fault Car Accident
A major component of dealing with the aftermath of a car accident is contacting your insurance company and speaking with an adjuster. While this process can cause unnecessary stress, we’re here to simplify the process with a how-to guide.
First, gather the following insurance information from all other drivers involved in the accident for later use. Your insurance company will need this information during the claims process.
- Insurance company name
- Policyholder’s name
- Policy type
- Policy number
- Agent Name
Just like you reported the accident to either the police or your local DMV, you should also report the accident to your insurance company. Most insurance providers require policyholders to report car accidents, regardless of the severity level and whether the policyholder is at fault.
The purpose of reporting an accident to your insurance company is to file a claim against the at-fault driver so you can recover compensation for injuries and damages sustained. If the total cost of damages meets the state-specified threshold, the at-fault driver’s insurance company must cover them for you.
The Role of a Lawyer in a Not-At-Fault Car Accident
A lawyer plays a key role in the aftermath of a car accident. They provide the following services to their clients:
- Advocate for their rights
- Gather evidence
- Assess damages
- Negotiate with insurance companies and the at-fault driver’s attorney
- Represent them in court, if necessary
The lawyer’s primary goal is to ensure the client receives fair compensation for their losses, including medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
At Esquire Law, we have the resources required to litigate with insurance companies of all sizes and achieve the justice you deserve. Click the button below to get a free case evaluation today.
Understanding Arizona & Utah Car Accident Laws
Here’s everything you need to know about the current car accident laws in Arizona and Utah.
Comparative negligence is a legal concept used to determine how much fault each party involved in a car accident shares. It recognizes that multiple parties can contribute to the accident and assigns a percentage of fault to each party based on their level of negligence. The damages awarded in a case are reduced relative to the percentage of each party’s fault.
For example, if a jury determines that you were 20% at fault for an accident, the amount of damages you’re awarded would be reduced by 20%. If the total damages awarded amount to $10,000, you would receive $8,000.
There are two types of comparative negligence laws: pure and modified. Let’s break them down below.
- Pure Comparative Negligence: Arizona is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that the plaintiff can pursue compensation no matter what their degree of fault is.
- Modified Comparative Negligence: Utah is a modified comparative negligence state, meaning that the plaintiff can only seek compensation if their degree of fault is within a predetermined threshold. This threshold—which varies between states—is 50% in Utah. In other words, if the plaintiff is 50% or more at fault for the accident, he or she cannot receive compensation for injuries and damages that they sustained.
At-Fault vs. No-Fault
Arizona is an at-fault state. This legal principle states that the driver who caused the accident must pay for the injuries and damages caused. If the at-fault driver has a minimum liability coverage policy, their insurance provider will cover the costs of accident-related injuries and damages—assuming the injured party files a claim against them.
Utah is a no-fault state. This legal principle states that each driver’s insurance company must pay for their policyholder’s accident-related expenses, regardless of who caused the accident. As a result, the injured—or not-at-fault—driver has limited options for filing a claim against the at-fault driver. The good news is that the not-at-fault driver’s insurance policy will cover the cost of accident-related expenses, including medical bills, lost wages, and car repairs.
Minimum Liability Coverage
What It is
Both Arizona and Utah law requires in-state drivers to hold an auto insurance policy with minimum liability coverage. This coverage provides financial protection to the at-fault driver in a car accident and ensures the injured party receives compensation to cover the cost of accident-related injuries and damages. If the injured party files a claim against the at-fault driver, the at-fault driver’s insurance policy will cover those expenses so they don’t have to pay them out of pocket.
What It Covers
A minimum liability policy helps cover the costs of bodily injuries and property damages sustained by the not-at-fault party. Here’s a breakdown of the primary costs associated with bodily injury and property damage.
|Bodily Injury||Property Damage|
|Medical Bills||Car Repairs|
|Rehabilitative Care||Car Replacement|
|Ongoing Treatments||Building Repairs|
|Legal Fees||Personal Property Damage or Loss|
How Much It Covers
Minimum liability laws require the insurance policy to cover a specific dollar amount—which is determined by the state—for various injuries and damages.
According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, Arizona’s minimum liability coverage amounts are:
- $25,000 bodily injury liability for one person
- $50,000 bodily injury liability for two or more people
- $15,000 property damage liability
According to American Family Insurance, Utah’s minimum liability coverage amounts are:
- $25,000 bodily injury liability for one person
- $65,000 bodily injury liability for two or more people
- $15,000 property damage liability
What Is the Minimum Damage Amount Required To File a Claim Against the At-Fault Driver?
Keep in mind that the not-at-fault driver involved in a car accident can’t file a claim against the at-fault driver for just any amount of damage.
For example, in Utah, the total cost of damages must be at least $3,000 to file a claim for compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If the total cost of damages amounts to less than $3,000, the not-at-fault driver cannot file a claim against the at-fault driver. The costs will be covered by their own insurance policy.
Resolve Your Auto Accident Case with Esquire Law
Don’t settle for less than what you deserve. Let Esquire Law Firm handle your case so you can achieve maximum financial compensation for injuries and damages resulting from your accident. Get started today with a free case evaluation.