How Do Insurance Companies Determine Fault in Car Accidents?

Being in a car crash causes stress for many reasons – from injuries to dealing with vehicle repairs. But many Nevada drivers also face confusion around one crucial question: who decides fault after an accident? 

Determining blame matters for collecting from insurers. Nevada uses “modified comparative negligence” laws regarding fault judgments after collisions.

Understanding how adjusters assign fault puts power back in your hands when negotiating insurance claims. This article explains Nevada’s auto accident fault and liability rules so you avoid unfair settlements.

How Insurance Companies Investigate Car Accidents

Insurance companies start investigating a car accident immediately after it is reported. The investigation process typically involves:

  • Reviewing the police report – Police officers who responded to the scene documented important details about how the accident occurred, statements from drivers and witnesses, and any traffic violations.
  • Interviewing drivers and witnesses – Insurance adjusters will contact everyone involved in the accident to get each person’s statement on what transpired.
  • Visiting the accident scene – A claims adjuster may visit the site of the crash to assess the terrain, visibility, traffic signs, and other environmental factors.
  • Inspecting vehicle damage – The actual damage to the vehicles provides clues about the forces involved in the collision and each car’s role.
  • Analyzing data – Data from the vehicles, such as speed prior to impact or engagement of brakes, can provide objective facts. Video from dash cams or nearby surveillance cameras also supplies verifiable information.
  • Assessing injuries – The types of injuries sustained by occupants of each vehicle can indicate circumstances like who hit whom, the speed of impact, and the use of seatbelts.
  • Reviewing medical reports – Medical records reveal important details about the cause and severity of injuries.
  • Determining negligence – Insurance companies consider all evidence gathered to decide which driver acted negligently and to what extent negligence caused the accident.

Why Fault Level Directly Impacts Insurance Claim Payouts

Modified comparative negligence in Nevada means drivers less than 50% at fault can still collect injury and damage compensation, but it is reduced based on their percentage of fault. Specifically:

  • If a driver is over 50% at fault, they are barred from recovering most damages.
  • If a driver is 50% at fault, they can recover 50% of their losses.
  • If a driver is less than 50% at fault, they can recover a proportional percentage of their losses minus the percentage they were blamed.

For example, for a $100,000 claim:

  • A driver 60% at fault could recover $0.
  • A driver 50% at fault could recover $50,000.
  • A driver 25% at fault could recover $75,000 (100% – 25% = 75% of losses).

This demonstrates why inaccurate or unfair determinations badly impact compensation. Working with experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorneys helps maximize payouts by fighting undeserved blame.

What If Multiple Drivers Were Involved in an Accident?

Crashes with over two vehicles mean fault gets divided independently between all drivers. Settlement calculations account for each party’s cumulative fault percentage, affecting the overall claim value based on damages.

For example – total losses equal $500,000 between three drivers. Fault breakdown assigned:

  • Driver A – 30%
  • Driver B – 20%
  • Driver C – 50%

Each owes damages relative and proportionate to individual fault. Driver C pays 50% of all losses as the most responsible party. Bystanders also factor differently for compensation under Nevada laws.

Why Determining Fault Is Complicated

Several factors make properly assigning fault a complex process:

  • Police reports may reflect only limited data gathered at the scene. Additional investigation is usually needed to uncover the whole story.
  • Witness accounts can conflict, causing disputes over what really happened.
  • Drivers may try to conceal or distort facts to avoid liability.
  • Injuries may take time to manifest fully, making long-term consequences difficult to assess initially.
  • Construction zones, poor weather, mechanical defects, and other external conditions must be considered.
  • State laws affect the application of negligence and liability rules.

Insurers do not always get fault determination right with so many variables involved. An experienced personal injury attorney can help correct inaccurate conclusions and negotiate fair compensation.

Can Drivers Challenge or Dispute Fault Decisions?

You may dispute unfair fault determinations by:

  • Gathering additional evidence missed by police, like photos, video footage, or eyewitness accounts
  • Retaining accident reconstruction specialists to apply physics analyzing road factors
  • Hiring attorneys to develop arguments aligned to precedents and case histories favoring your innocence

Insurers also make mistakes or render decisions based on inadequate police reports. Contesting protects legal rights and avoids unjust claim denials or reduced compensation that does not match crash realities. 

Experienced lawyers negotiate while considering complex vehicle, driver, and property factors, determining true fault percentages – translating into maximum eligible claim payouts.

Why Hiring a Lawyer Matters

Insurance companies have financial incentives to minimize what they pay out in claims. As such, they may rush investigations or draw questionable conclusions to reduce or deny your compensation.

With an attorney at your side, you can feel confident that:

  • All evidence is being gathered, and nothing is overlooked.
  • Witnesses will be thoroughly interviewed.
  • The insurance company’s adjusters will be held accountable for ethical processes.
  • Police reports will be reviewed for errors.
  • Fault determination arguments will be persuasive and backed by facts.
  • Your injuries and losses will be properly valued.

Car accident lawyers have extensive experience negotiating with insurance companies. They know which factors matter most for a favorable liability assessment. You can maximize your potential to recover full and fair compensation with diligent representation.

Protect Your Rights After an Accident

If you have suffered injuries and vehicle damage due to someone else’s negligence, it is essential to understand how fault is determined and to engage qualified legal counsel. 

Don’t hesitate to contact the team at Benjamin Durham Law Firm for a free consultation with a knowledgeable Las Vegas car accident attorney. They will review your case details and insurance issues and develop an aggressive strategy for obtaining the maximum compensation you deserve.