Who determines fault for a Connecticut car crash?

On Behalf of | Jul 21, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

One of the most important steps to take after a car crash in Connecticut involves figuring out who is at fault. Although both drivers should have insurance, it will be the driver responsible for the crash who will typically have to provide coverage for the other people involved in the wreck. Fault also directly influences whether or not someone has the option of pursuing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court.

Victims often need to take immediate steps to establish who is at fault for the crash if they want to avoid personal responsibility for a crash they did not cause and obtain appropriate financial compensation after a collision. Of course, the driver who caused the crash likely doesn’t want that financial responsibility either and could very well lie to the police, the insurance company and anyone else investigating the wreck.

Who eventually determines the party to blame for a collision in Connecticut?

A police report is important but not absolute

The first party who will review the circumstances of the crash and put together a preliminary determination of fault is the police officer responding to the wreck. They will often use what information is available at the scene of the crash to establish the first determination of fault. However, they may reach a conclusion before reviewing phone records, traffic camera footage and other crucial evidence. The police report is there as a starting point and is not an authoritative determination of fault.

Oftentimes, the insurance companies or courts may have to weigh in on the matter as well. When there is a question about who is truly at fault, litigation could be necessary. Crash-related claims frequently involve both parties making minor mistakes that will force the courts to review the situation at length. Connecticut applies a modified comparative fault standard to such cases. Either driver could seek compensation from the other and civil court provided that the courts established they have less than 51% of the fault for the crash. That allocation of fault will also determine what compensation they secure, as the courts will reduce what someone receives based on their personal responsibility for the collision.

Those preparing for court or trying to convince an insurance company that the other driver was at fault may require evidence ranging from witness statements to professional crash reconstruction. Seeking legal guidance to prove that the other motorist was at fault may make a major difference for those pursuing insurance compensation and/or intending to go to court after a collision.