Get an attorney. Usually a rear-end collision is going to be found in favor of the driver that was rear-ended, but not always. Your friend needs to consult with a local attorney regarding his rights in a personal injury claim and he needs to find out why the insurance company believes he is at fault for the accident. It does not sound like they have an accident report by the police, so having witnesses will be very helpful for your friend.
If he had insurance, he could just turn this over to them. Without insurance, it's tough, but he may be able to find an attorney who would charge a nominal sum to assist.
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Insurance companies do not like to pay out money and if they think they have an argument not to pay, they will use it. You need an attorney to take whatever action is necessary to compel the insurance company to pay your claim. In short, hire an attorney.
Information I provide in this forum is not legal advice. The information provided is only general information that may or may not apply to you and may or may not be based on current law. I am NOT YOUR attorney. For specific legal advice you need to contact an attorney and enter into a retainer with that attorney.
It is always best to contact an attorney in this situation. Do not give a recorded statement until you have been advised of your rights.
If you do intend to reach out to the opposing party's insurance company on your own, ask them for their "theory of liability". It is likely that the person who hit your friend told them a version of the events that is not accurate.
Police reports are a key piece of evidence in proving fault in a car accident. If the other party involved in the crash received a ticket, it is most likely that they broke a traffic law which resulted in their hitting another car. The ticket will be used by your lawyer in your accident case.
Another place to look for support for your argument that the other driver was at fault is in the state laws that govern driving. These rules of the road are contained in each state's statutes and are usually known as the vehicle code.
Insurance companies are big on determining who was at fault and assigning blame. Of course, they don't want their own insured to be at fault, but they often will accept the blame when the evidence, like a ticket, shows their insured caused the accident.
Fault can be affected by factors such as drug or alcohol consumption, speeding, illegal turns, driver distraction, passenger involvement, defective equipment, and road or weather activity.
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