How do adjusters determine who is at fault?

Insurance adjusters are professionals tasked by insurance companies to evaluate the circumstances surrounding an accident and to determine fault based on evidence and Louisiana state laws. Their determination directly influences how claims are settled and how liabilities are distributed.

While most adjusters strive to make fair assessments, the potential for errors and bias is high, and the repercussions are serious. If you’re found at fault, you’ll have to pay higher insurance premiums and cover your medical bills and repair costs.

Don’t let the adjuster blame you if you were hurt in a car crash. Work with a skilled Lafayette car accident lawyer to get your deserved compensation.

how do adjusters determine who is at fault

How do insurance companies determine fault?

Insurance companies are not in the business of paying claims to people who “think” someone else caused their collision. If they were, they’d be broke. Insurance companies only pay claims that can be proven with clear, undeniable evidence found during an investigation.

Gather evidence

In Louisiana, the process of determining fault begins with the collection of various pieces of evidence:

  • Police reports: These are critical as they often contain a detailed assessment by law enforcement of the accident scene and note any violations of Louisiana traffic laws, which are crucial for determining fault.
  • Witness statements: Accounts from eyewitnesses provide additional perspectives that can support or contradict other evidence.
  • Photos and videos of the accident scene: Visual evidence helps adjusters assess the physical context of the accident, including the positioning of vehicles, traffic signs, and road conditions.
  • Statements from the drivers involved: Personal accounts provide insights into the actions and intentions of those directly involved.

Analyze the evidence under Louisiana law

Adjusters analyze the collected evidence in the context of Louisiana state laws. Louisiana follows a comparative fault rule, which means that each driver involved in an accident can be found partially at fault depending on their actions leading to the crash. Adjusters look at violations of specific statutes, such as speeding (RS 32:64) or failure to yield (RS 32:123), to help assign fault proportionately.

Real-life example: Fault determination in a rear-end collision

Consider a rear-end collision in Louisiana. Typically, the trailing driver is presumed at fault for following too closely (RS 32:81). However, if the leading driver stopped abruptly without reason or if their brake lights were out (violating RS 32:301), the fault might be adjusted to reflect these circumstances.

Consult experts

For complex accidents, Louisiana adjusters may consult forensic experts to reconstruct the accident and legal experts to navigate intricate legal issues. This ensures a fair and informed fault determination.

What kinds of issues get in the way of determining fault?

Bias toward minimizing payouts

Insurance companies have a vested interest in minimizing financial losses. This inherent bias can impact how adjusters assess accidents. There is a potential conflict of interest because adjusters may feel pressured to assign fault in ways that limit their employer’s payout. This can lead to unfair determinations that leave accident victims inadequately compensated.

Limited information and subjectivity

Adjusters often rely on the information available during their assessment, which may be incomplete. They consider police reports, witness statements, and any physical evidence from the scene. However, some crucial details might be missing or overlooked, and witness accounts can be subjective or biased. Additionally, adjusters are not always present at the scene and must rely on photographs and descriptions, which do not always capture the full context of the accident.

Variability in skill and experience

The expertise of an insurance adjuster plays a significant role in fault determination. Experienced adjusters are more likely to understand the nuances of accident scenes and can better interpret complex evidence. However, less experienced adjusters might not possess the necessary skills to accurately assess all aspects of an incident, leading to potentially incorrect fault determinations.

Legal and regulatory constraints

Adjusters must navigate a maze of state-specific laws and regulations that can significantly influence the fault determination process. Misinterpretations of these laws or failure to apply them appropriately can result in faulty assessments. For instance, states with comparative negligence laws require a nuanced analysis of each party’s degree of fault, which can be highly subjective and complex.

We’re here to protect your claim

While most adjusters strive to make fair assessments, several factors often contribute to flawed fault determinations. Those involved in accidents need to understand these issues and, if necessary, seek legal advice to protect their rights and receive fair treatment under the law.

Call Lafayette Car Accident Lawyer at (337) 541-0769 if you were hurt in a crash to schedule your free consultation.

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Lafayette Car Accident Lawyer stands ready to assist you with your case. To find out more or request a free consultation, call us at (337) 541-0769.

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