My insurance told me that when they contacted her insurance that their client is claiming that I am at fault for cutting her off, but I know I didn't. Her insurance hasn't even tired to call me for my statement. Is that normal? Or I don't have to talk to them at all? I did get a lawyer for this case. How will they determine who is at fault? There was a police on the scene, but he just shared info for us. He said that he doesn't determine who is at fault. So how will the insurance determine who is at fault?
I am sorry you have found yourself in this situation. In cases where there are no witnesses, liability may be a bit more challenging to prove. It's a good thing you have retained an attorney to assist you. It's also important that you feel comfortable contacting your attorney and getting his or her advice and counsel regarding any concerns you may have.
First off, do not speak to the opposing party's insurance company without your lawyer. At this point, all communications should go through your attorney.
Second, there are many ways to attempt to determine who is at fault. There may be witnesses that you don't know about yet. There may be marks on the road at the accident site that may help. The way the vehicles hit one another can also indicate the position of the vehicles. The police report may indicate the factors that, in the police officer's mind, contributed to the accident. Your attorney will obtain these as well as other available evidence in order to help your case.
If you have further questions or concerns, I'd be happy to help.
Do not give a statement to the insurance companies without first talking with your lawyer. Insurance adjusters are trained to take statements that work against your interest.
If you have a lawyer, they should be able to answer all these questions. The good thing about hiring a lawyer is that they will talk to the insurance companies for you. Make sure the lawyer you hire is experienced in car wreck and personal injury cases.
If you get served with papers from the other driver suing you, send them immediately to your lawyer and your insurance company.
Assuming your attorney has placed them on notice that he represents you, they are not allowed to contact you. You should not talk the other insurance company at all. If they do call you, refer them to your lawyer.
It is your lawyer's job to decide what tactics to use to prove the other driver is at fault. You really should discuss his/her strategy with him/her.
You will be paying your lawyer good money to handle your case and answer your questions. Call him or her for their input.
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Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
Policies for interviewing accident witnesses vary between insurance companies. Some insurers don't take recorded statements in cases involving relatively minor injuries. However, if a case is viewed as having the potential for litigation--usually meaning higher damages--it is pretty rare for the opposing insurance company to not seek your recorded statement. They will normally do this quickly, before you have a chance to forget critical facts, and while you are still unrepresented. You do not have to talk with them, but you should follow the advice of the lawyer you retained. In our practice, I generally allow my clients to give such recorded statements, but only if I am present in the event the adjuster gets out of line. You should also ask for a transcribed copy of the recorded statement to be provided, and any legitimate insurer will do so.
The way fault is determined is by looking at various factors. The way the accident facts are established is by witnesses who saw the accident. Regrettably, bystander witnesses are often not available either because they didn't stop, as is often the case in rush hour, couldn't safely stop, or left the scene without leaving their identifying information. If you have such witnesses available, make sure you stay in touch with them and share their information with your attorney, who may try to procure their statement. If no bystander witnesses are available, you will have to rely on your own testimony, that of any passengers in your vehicle, and occasionally, the other side. It doesn't happen often, but once in awhile the other side admits fault or says something that amounts to an admission. Unless they are represented by counsel, I always try to obtain their statement early, as well.The policeman is correct that he cannot determine fault. He was merely doing his job by showing up and taking down the accident scene facts as he saw them. Some people are tempted to ascribe heavier weight to his testimony; but he was not even a bystander. Still, it is valuable to obtain a copy of his report to see if it supports you or works against you. Your attorney can then advise you on whether to contact the officer and perhaps take his deposition in a lawsuit.
I suggest you immediately consult with an attorney who is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. I also suggest that you not give any statements to any insurance company until you consult with and/or retain an attorney to represent you in this matter. Insurance company adjusters are trained to make claimants believe their claims are not valuable because all the insurance company cares about is paying you as little as possible regardless of the severity of your injuries. Good luck. www.urhurt.com
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