The statistics are sobering: Some six million car accidents are expected to occur in 2019, with about six percent of them resulting in a fatality.While car accidents are an unpleasant but unavoidable reality for many drivers, few motorists understand how the process of determining responsibility for the accident and awarding damages works. There are many myths floating around about determining fault in an accident. This article will dispel some of the most common ones.

What is Fault?

Simply put, fault in an auto accident refers to who is most responsible for the collision. It’s intrinsically important because the person deemed not at fault can avoid any financial or legal penalties related to the wreck. The party determined to be at fault, however, can face financial, civil and even criminal consequences. How that is done is often misunderstood by the general public.

Myth 1: I Can Settle and Still Sue

Many drivers mistakenly believe they can settle a personal injury claim with the at fault driver and still file a lawsuit. That’s not how it works. Once you’ve worked with the other driver’s insurance company you’re required to sign a release that restricts you from any further claim. As any good personal injury attorney will tell you, the insurance companies have little incentive to give you a fair settlement so it’s best to seek legal council before reaching any agreement.

Myth 2: Fault is Only Influenced By Evidence

While evidence of things like speed, street conditions or negligence does play a big role in determining fault, it’s not the only factor. And in some cases, it’s not the primary focus. In many states, the majority of fault is automatically assigned to the driver of the last car in the accident. That means if you rear end another driver, even if they stopped abruptly, you are likely to be found at-fault.

Myth 3: Only One Driver Can Be At Fault 

While only one driver may be eligible for a settlement in an accident, multiple parties can be found at fault. At-fault parties can involve multiple drivers, or even parties responsible for the circumstances that contributed to the accident. If multiple parties are involved, each party could end up paying liability for the damages their actions caused.

Determining who is at fault in an auto accident is often a hotly disputed subject and with good reason. The at-fault party can face serious consequences. If you’re seeking to prove another driver was at fault and get damages for your pain and suffering, contact a personal injury attorney today.