Should I Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident That Was My Fault?

Should I Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident That Was My Fault?

One car crash happens every six minutes. This statistics report came from the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) based on a study they made in 2020. 

The data above translates to over 14,000 car accidents that could happen on America’s roadways in one day, and you might be involved in one. In fact, in 2020, American drivers had a 1 in 63 chance of getting involved in a car crash. 

Given these odds, it’s best to have insurance to help cover damages that may result from an accident. 

However, what will happen if you’re at fault or partially responsible for the accident? Do you need to get a lawyer for a car accident that’s your fault? Will your insurance company cover the damages even if you’re responsible for the car crash? 

This article explains what will happen after a car accident you think is your fault. It also provides advice on the do’s and don’ts when you’re involved in a car crash. 

Furthermore, this write-up informs you of different insurance policies, like personal injury protection insurance, that can help cover damages caused by an accident. 

Once you get involved in a car accident and want to secure your best interest, hire a personal injury lawyer. They can help you navigate the complexities of insurance laws and talk to your insurance providers to help you get the compensation you deserve. 

Visit if you need a personal injury lawyer to help you with your car accident case. You can access our vast directory of law firms, lawyers, and attorneys ready to help you with personal injury cases. 

What Should You Do if You Think You Caused a Car Accident?

You may initially feel disoriented and confused after coming out of a car crash. In some cases, you may not be aware of what happened. Emotions may still be high at this point. 

You might also be scared or even angry at what happened. However, all of these emotions can only cause trouble if you don’t know how to manage yourself during the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident. 

The following are some tips to remember when you get involved in an auto accident.

Remain Calm and Stay at the Car Accident Scene

Don’t let your emotions distract you during an accident; always remain calm. If you or one of your passengers have been injured, don’t panic. Call medical assistance through 911 or a local medical emergency team if you can. 

Stay at the accident scene if possible. However, if you sustained severe injuries, the paramedics will bring you to the nearest hospital for immediate care. 

Remember that if you leave the scene of the accident immediately, you can be charged with hit and run, which is a serious offense. 

Contact the Authorities

Contact the authorities immediately, primarily if the accident resulted in extensive damages or severe injuries. Contacting the police shows your cooperation, which can help you deal with possible lawsuits, especially if you’re at fault. 

The police report may also include information about the accident, such as damages, injuries, witness statements, and facts about the car crash. Everything you do in the aftermath of an accident must be well-documented. 

Gather Information at the Scene: Collect Additional Evidence and Take Pictures

You must gather evidence and information you can from the scene of an accident. You can exchange insurance information and phone numbers with the other driver.

Take pictures of the damage to your car and the other party’s vehicle. Also, take photos of injuries you’ve sustained and of your passengers. 

You can also take videos of the car accident, which you can use when proving your insurance claim or defending yourself from a personal injury lawsuit. 

You can also ask for copies of surveillance videos that may happen to cover the area. 

More importantly, you can request a personal injury attorney to help you access these surveillance recordings. You need to do this, especially if you’re at fault. 

You’ll need all the evidence to lower your penalties by proving that the accident wasn’t entirely your fault. 

Avoid Making the Wrong Statements and Don’t Ever Admit Fault

Always be mindful of what you’re telling other people after an accident. Don’t just divulge information about the accident, agree on anything, or give suggestions that you’re admitting to wrongdoings, like apologizing. 

It’s best to consult your experienced car accident lawyer before giving any statement.

Seek Medical Treatment

When you get involved in a car accident, having a medical practitioner check you for injuries is best. 

Sometimes, car crash-related injuries are not apparent, and symptoms may show only after the accident. If you delay your treatment, it may lead to complications that can cause more pain and suffering.

Speak With an Attorney

Personal injury lawyers can help you make the right decisions and give the correct statements to avoid any issues with the technicalities of the law. 

Experienced attorneys can represent your best interests as you deal with insurance claims with your insurance company, especially if you’re the at-fault driver. 

Remember, any decision you make during this sensitive situation can result in consequences that may not be favorable to you. 

So, maintain a good attorney-client relationship with your legal representation and allow them to guide you through the legal process for car accident cases. 

Contact Your Insurer

You should contact your lawyer to help you deal with your insurance company, primarily if the other party blames you as the one at fault. 

Once you’ve reported the accident, the insurance company will send its representative and call an insurance adjuster, who will help determine the validity of your personal injury claims. 

What Happens if You’re Partially Responsible for a Car Accident?

You may need to share liability with another party when you’re partially responsible for a car accident. However, some states in the United States follow the no-fault law. This policy states that regardless of who is at fault, both parties must file their claims with their own insurance company. 

However, in fault-based states, you can only calculate fair settlement after determining who is at fault. Then, you can determine if the other party based their compensation demands on comparative negligence laws. 

Pure Contributory Negligence

States with pure contributory negligence laws don’t allow people with shared fault to recover any compensation after a car accident. However, some exemptions to this negligence law may allow partially liable drivers to recover some compensation. 

  • Last clear chance: A person can become partly liable for the accident when they have the last clear chance to avoid and prevent an accident. The other driver, though partially responsible, can recover compensation. 
  • Willful or wanton conduct: Even if you’re partially responsible for the accident, but the other driver behaves egregiously, you can recover compensation. An example of wanton conduct is getting into an accident because the other driver is speeding excessively.

Modified Comparative Negligence

Some fault-based states may use modified comparative negligence laws to ensure people seek compensation even if they’re partially liable for the accident. 

One requirement for compensation under the modified comparative negligence is that the drivers agree to split the liability. 

Pure Comparative Negligence

This type of negligence law is considered the most lenient because you can recover compensation in a car accident even if you’re 99% responsible for the accident as long as you have another driver sharing liability. 

How Fault Is Determined in a Car Accident

Fault determination is often the first to determine who will pay for the damage, especially in fault-based states. In these states, one can determine fault through the following methods:

  • Determination between drivers: In some cases, drivers may blame each other during the aftermath of an accident, leading to heated arguments. On the other hand, some may admit that they’re responsible for the accident. 
  • Determination made by law enforcement: Once the police arrive at the accident scene, they’ll make an initial investigation and provide their determination of who is at fault. 

    However, one must remember that an initial police report isn’t infallible, especially when further investigations are made.

  • Determination by the insurance company: Your insurance provider can also determine fault and seek ways to get fair compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company through subrogation. 

    Subrogation refers to the legal right of insurance companies to pursue a third party that effected an insurance loss to the insured. 

  • Determination by arbitration: Here, determining the cause of a car accident falls into the decision of a private arbitration body or the courts. 

Limited Tort Insurance and Fault

Tort insurance is a system where the at-fault driver is held responsible for damages. The at-fault driver’s liability insurance covers the claims against the driver. 

The motorist involved in an accident may have limited tort insurance coverage, which they can file with their insurance for medical bills and lost wages compensation.

With limited tort coverage, it doesn’t matter if you’re the at-fault driver because insurance providers cover the damages. 

However, suppose the accident victim sustains severe injuries. In that case, they may leave the limited tort coverage and pursue a claim or lawsuit against you.  

Full Tort Insurance and Fault

This type of coverage allows accident victims to file personal injury lawsuits or claims against the at-fault driver to recover damages, including non-economic ones resulting from a car crash. 

In full tort insurance, fault determination is key to recovering compensation for losses sustained in a car accident. 

Comparative Negligence

In a car crash, determination of fault is often difficult, especially if both drivers claim innocence. However, through comparative negligence, this determination can be achieved. 

This principle of tort law states that you can determine who’s at fault in a car accident by checking their contribution to the crash. You can assign the level of fault one person has that led to the accident, making calculating damages easier for insurance claims. 

Comparative Fault Principle

If you’re involved in a car accident and feel it’s your fault, you can still rely on the comparative fault principle to reduce the cost of damages you’re blamed for. 

The comparative fault principle simply says that the cost of the damages sustained from a car crash can be divided among the drivers involved based on the level of negligence that contributed to the accident. 

Can You Fight an At-Fault Accident?

You can’t pin the blame on someone without any proof or evidence. This principle is very much observed in accident cases. Using this principle, you can fight an at-fault accident, especially if the other party is accusing you of causing the accident. 

Do You Need an Injury Lawyer After a Car Accident You Think Was Your Fault?

Fault determination isn’t based on what you think. You can get into legal trouble if you show your acceptance of guilt during the aftermath of an accident. 

You should get an experienced car accident attorney when you’re being blamed for the accident. They can give you legal advice regarding this sensitive situation. 

Your legal team can help you avoid wrong decisions and pitfalls that might strengthen the other party’s claim against you. 

If you need law firms specializing in car accident law, visit our website at 

When You’re a Defendant in a Personal Injury Case, Consider These Dos and Don’ts

Upon acquiring the services of a car accident attorney, you need to provide full cooperation. Allow your legal representative to take all the necessary steps to help build your defense. 

Avoiding Common Mistakes: What to Do as a Personal Injury Defendant

You should consider the following things during your time as a defendant in a car accident case and avoid these common mistakes. 

Giving a Recorded Statement

Only consent to giving a statement or providing one after talking with your lawyer, even if the one asking for such a statement is your insurance adjuster. 

Remember that people can use every word you say in a recorded statement against you to thwart your insurance claims or a personal injury lawsuit. So, before you even utter a word concerning critical facts about the car accident you’re involved in, consult your lawyer. 

Signing a Medical Authorization

Never sign anything without your lawyer’s advice. Sometimes, an insurance adjuster may ask you to sign a medical authorization document that allows the insurance company to pry into your medical records, including those unrelated to the car accident. 

Accepting the Initial Offer

Never agree to any settlement offer or any amount of compensation without running the calculations with your lawyer. If you hastily agree to an offer, you may get short-changed by the other party. Remember that there are many factors to consider when determining the total cost of damages. 

You should first talk with your lawyer to calculate the cost correctly by checking the medical expenses, repair costs, loss of wages, and other non-economical damages like the pain and suffering brought about by the accident. 

Trying to Settle Your Claim on Your Own

Never try to settle an insurance claim without help from a legal expert. Insurance laws can be tricky, and you may not get the legal rights you deserve. So, why risk your chances of getting the car insurance coverage you need by being reckless? 

Do You Report a Minor Accident?

You should always report a car accident, including minor ones, to your insurance company, even if the altercation is a typical fender bender. 

However, state laws determine whether you must report a minor accident to local police. 

Should You Get a Lawyer for a Minor Car Accident?

Car crashes are a dynamic event that can always get worse. So, even if you think the car crash is a minor accident, you’ll never know its full extent if you don’t do your due diligence and investigate further. 

For this reason, getting a lawyer to help you, even if the car accident seems like a minor roadside altercation, is best. 

Severity of Injuries

You can differentiate minor from major car accidents by the level of threat to human life. It can be considered minor if there’s minor car damage, no serious threat to anyone’s life, and minor injuries like cuts and bruises. Your lawyer can help you calculate the possible damages of these injuries, even if they’re light. 

Determining Fault

As mentioned above, the determination of fault lies in the contribution of one party to the accident. Both parties’ negligent behavior levels measure this contribution. You will likely be more liable for the accident if you’ve shown more negligence. 

Do You Need a Police Report for a Car Accident Claim?

The short answer to this is no. You don’t necessarily need a police report to file an auto insurance claim. 

You can file a personal injury claim with your provider after an accident. However, you have to scour the accident scene for evidence to back your claims, which is conveniently included in a police report. 

What if You Don’t Have a Police Report?

A police report is recommended evidence that you can use to back up your insurance claim. However, if you don’t have one, you can resort to doing the following:

  • Gather information
  • Get medical attention
  • Get expert witnesses
  • Consult an attorney

Do You Need a Police Report for an Accident That Wasn’t Your Fault?

One tip you can consider is that when the accident involves an injury, it’s best to report the case to the police. Some states will require reporting of minor accidents to the police.

You can consult your lawyer to know the policies implemented in your state or jurisdiction regarding car accidents. 

Comparing No-Fault States vs. Fault States

The United States has two primary systems regarding compensation for car accidents. 

  • Fault-based system: This system allows claimants to pursue compensation from at-fault parties or individuals who caused the accident. 
  • No-fault-based system: In this system, determination of fault isn’t required to seek compensation. Both parties must seek compensation from their own personal insurance providers. 

If You Are Partially at Fault

If you’re partially at fault and in a no-fault state, you and other parties involved in an accident must file insurance claims with their providers. 

However, in a fault-based state, you may be liable to pay damages if it’s determined that you’re at fault. 

Your Insurance Coverage

Your insurance policy may be based on the laws in your state. You can talk to your insurance company to know your insurance coverage when involved in a car accident. 

No-Fault States

The following are no-fault states:

New Jersey 
New York 
North Dakota

Note that you can opt out of a no-fault policy in the following states:

  • Kentucky
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania

Fault-Based States

As of 2023, there are only 12 states that have no-fault insurance policies. The rest of the states have fault-based policies, emphasizing the need to determine who’s at fault.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance and Damages Covered

A personal injury protection insurance policy (PIP) pays for motor vehicle accident injuries promptly. 

PIP claims get paid regardless of who’s at fault, removing the need to file any liability lawsuit against anyone to demand compensation. 

PIP insurance typically covers the following:

  • Medical expenses caused by the car accident
  • Lost wages due to injuries
  • Cost of rehabilitation
  • Replacement services for things you can’t provide for your family due to the accident
  • Funeral expenses and survivor benefits 

Supplemental Insurance

You can have supplemental insurance that you can add to your existing health insurance coverage. These insurance types can help with the policy limits of your original policy. Examples of supplemental insurance are the following:

  • Life insurance
  • Short-term disability
  • Long-term disability
  • Accident insurance

Losses That May Qualify for Compensation

The main benefit of having an insurance policy is that it can provide a safety net for you as you recover from injuries or damages caused by the accident. 

The following are losses that may qualify for compensation from your insurance company. 

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering

Establishing Liability After a Car Accident

Even if you think you’re responsible or partially responsible for the accident, you can’t be 100% sure. Your lawyer and the police may help determine who is at fault and inform you of the damages that need compensation. 

Remember that you don’t have to admit to anything after an accident. You don’t have to give statements or sign anything to admit to something. Talking to your lawyer after a car accident is best to avoid legal problems. 

Bodily Injury Liability

This coverage is an add-on to your insurance policy. This add-on pays for the damages the other driver sustained due to an accident you’re involved in. 

This insurance policy can help cover damages when another party files a compensation claim against you. However, bodily injury liability isn’t mandatory, unlike PIP. 

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

This coverage helps you cover damages when the driver at fault isn’t insured or when you’re a hit-and-run victim. 

The uninsured motorist coverage can also help when your insurance policy can’t cover the entire damage caused by the accident. Like other add-on policies, this insurance coverage is optional. 

What Are Restricted Claims and Serious Injury Thresholds?

One benefit of no-fault laws is the limited ability of accident victims to file claims for damages related to the car crash. 

For instance, the no-fault law limits an injured driver’s ability to pursue compensation for damages linked to pain and suffering caused by a motor vehicle accident. 

Drivers who seek compensation for non-economical damages must meet an injury threshold before filing. 

An example of a threshold is implemented in Florida, a no-fault state. Florida law characterizes a serious injury as one that:

  • Caused a substantial or permanent loss of a crucial bodily function
  • Caused permanent injury within reasonable medical guidelines
  • Caused severe or permanent disfigurement
  • Resulted in death

If a driver sustained the damages stated above, they could file a claim. Note that no-fault laws may vary between states and jurisdictions. 

Property Damage Claims

Aside from injuries, you can get property damage coverages that can help you pay for the damages that resulted from the accident. 

Your PIP insurance can cover damages, but it has limits. Meanwhile, property damage coverage can cover anything over the insurance policy limit. 

However, state policies regarding property damage coverage may vary. So, it’s best to have an attorney when dealing with claims. 

Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations under personal injury law is the maximum time after an accident when legal proceedings can start. As a car victim, you have a specific period to file a personal injury lawsuit before the court won’t accept it.  

The period for a statute of limitations may vary from one to three years. However, in many jurisdictions, it may take longer. 

Lack of Coverage: When Might Hiring an Attorney Be Unnecessary

There are a few reasons why hiring an attorney may be unnecessary. The first reason is when the property damages are minor. You can easily work out the payments for this accident, but you need to report it to your insurance company. 

The second reason is that when another driver files a claim against you, your insurance company will typically defend you from the claim and may provide a lawyer to represent you. 

However, having a lawyer available to help you is always beneficial, especially in cases like a car accident. The following are other benefits of having an attorney ready to represent you. 

Why Is Legal Representation Essential?

The law is a complex body of statutes that may confuse many people. Despite the ability to have a copy of civil and criminal laws, one can’t fully understand the law unless one has studied it for years.

Legal representation can help you go through the legal process without the need to understand the intricacies and technicalities of the law. Your lawyer can explain the laws surrounding a car accident case and help you navigate the legal process.  

Negotiating Your Coverage

Your lawyer can negotiate coverage costs with your insurance company and the other party’s insurance providers. A professional car accident attorney can help determine the amount you can claim or the cost you must pay. 

Seeking a Settlement

Your lawyer can help you get the rightful settlement in a car accident case. You may get short-changed from low-ball settlement offers if you don’t have any legal background in calculating damages. 

Benefits of Settlements

Your lawyer can also work out a settlement offer, which is in your best interest if you’re the at-fault driver. Your lawyer can also check the other party’s liability to meet them halfway and decide on a settlement that benefits both parties. 

Negotiations Process

Your lawyer can help negotiate on your behalf. Negotiations are complicated as you must weigh the best possible option to benefit both parties. 

Lawyers can work with you so that you’re in a favorable position during negotiations. 

Consultations With Car Accident Lawyers Are Free

If you need a personal injury lawyer, visit and access our vast directory of law firms, lawyers, and attorneys ready to help you in your personal injury cases. 

Some law firms that you may encounter using this site can provide free consultation and, in some cases, free case evaluation. 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Can you lose your house due to an at-fault car accident?

Let’s say the damages determined in an accident lawsuit exceed your insurance policy. In that case, the court may order you to give up your assets to provide fair compensation. If the damage cost is greater than the value of your home, then you can lose your house due to a car accident. 

Suppose you are in such a lawsuit after a car accident. In that case, you must seek legal advice from an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the legal process and understand your rights and options.

2. What happens if you’re at fault in a car accident in Florida?

Florida is a no-fault state, which means that both parties involved in the car crash must file their insurance claims with their respective insurance providers regardless of who’s at fault. 

Drivers must have PIP insurance to speed up the claims process. The PIP coverage in Florida, a no-fault state, will pay for the following:

  • 80% of medical care expenses related to the car crash
  • 60% of lost income if the policyholder can’t work due to the injuries sustained in the car accident
  • $5,000 in death benefits if the collision resulted in a fatality

3. Is Florida a no-fault state?

Yes, Florida is among the no-fault states in America. 

4. Is Oregon an at-fault state?

No, Oregon is a fault-based state. 

5. Is New Jersey a no-fault state?

Yes, New Jersey is a no-fault state. 


  1. The Tricky Business Of Determining Fault After A Car Accident
  2. How Does Tort Insurance Work? Full vs. Limited
  3. Comparative Negligence: Definition, Types, and Examples
  4. Comparative negligence
  5. Can I File a Car Insurance Claim Without a Police Report?
  6. Insurance Claims After an Accident: The Basics
  7. Florida Car Accident Laws 2023 Guide
  8. Oregon Car Insurance Requirements

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