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Police asking couple questions after Florida car accident. | Colling Gilbert Wright

Do Police Determine Fault in a Car Accident in Florida?

You were involved in a car accident. You called 911. A police officer filled out a police report at the scene. So, do police determine fault in an accident?

When we find ourselves in a car accident, it can seem like fault would be simple to figure out. Legally, it gets slightly more complicated. When dealing with insurance companies or lawsuits for compensation, circumstances can be twisted to benefit the wrong parties. That’s why it is always in your best interest to consult a car accident lawyer with experience and a devotion to justice.

There’s no need to wonder, “Do police determine fault in an accident?” If you’ve been injured in a car accident, Colling Gilbert Wright has the answers you’re looking for and the skills to represent you should you be eligible to seek compensation outside of your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance.

Contact our dedicated Orlando car accident attorneys at (407) 712-7300 today to schedule a FREE case evaluation.

Do Police Determine Fault in an Accident?

The short answer is “No.” Contrary to popular belief, when a police officer responds to the scene of a car accident, their job is not to determine fault.

Rather, the responding officer’s job is to gather information about the accident and determine if anyone involved may have violated the law. If the officer has probable cause to believe that someone violated the law, then the officer can issue a ticket—but the ticket is still not a determination of fault.

Who Determines Fault in a Car Accident in Florida?

If the police don’t determine fault in a car accident in Florida, then who does? In many cases, fault is determined by the insurance companies. Recovering just compensation after a serious car accident typically involves filing an insurance claim. When you file, the insurance company will decide if they are willing to pay based on the evidence of fault that is available.

However, insurance companies do not have the final say in fault. In some cases, the Florida courts will need to determine fault. If you file an insurance claim and the insurance company refuses to pay, you may be able to take your case to trial. At trial, your lawyer will present evidence of fault (and damages), and then a judge or jury will decide who is at fault and whether you will receive financial compensation.

What Evidence Helps Determine Fault in an Accident?

Numerous forms of evidence can help determine fault in a car accident. The key is to collect the available evidence promptly, which means that you should engage a law firm to investigate your car accident as soon as possible.

During its investigation, your car accident lawyer seeks out evidence to support your claim, including:

  • Forensic evidence from the crash site
  • Video footage of the accident (whether from a traffic camera, surveillance camera, dash cam, or cell phone)
  • Eye-witness testimony
  • “Black box” data from each vehicle involved in the accident
  • Evidence of the damage suffered by each vehicle involved in the accident

Read More: How Is Fault Determined in a Florida Car Accident?

Challenges in Determining Fault

One of the most common challenges in determining fault in a car accident is collecting the necessary evidence before it disappears. Once again, this makes it vital to engage an Orlando car accident attorney to investigate promptly.

Along with collecting the necessary evidence, other challenges may include:

  • Preserving the evidence so that it remains admissible in court
  • Convincing the insurance companies to consider all of the relevant evidence
  • Dealing with any allegations of comparative fault
  • Apportioning liability when multiple other drivers contributed to causing a collision
  • Establishing liability for non-driver-related factors (i.e., road and vehicle defects)

Florida’s No-Fault Insurance

Florida is one of only about a dozen states with no-fault insurance laws. Under Florida’s no-fault insurance law, accident victims must file their claims with their own insurance companies—unless they can establish that they suffered a “significant” or “permanent” injury.

Many types of injuries qualify as “significant” or “permanent,” and this means that car accident victims can still pursue fault-based claims in many cases. Along with gathering the evidence needed to prove fault, your lawyer can work with you and your doctors to collect the evidence needed to establish your right to fault-based compensation.

Why Must Fault Be Determined in a No-Fault State?

As we just discussed, even though Florida is a no-fault insurance state, determining fault is still important because the law allows accident victims to file fault-based claims in more severe cases. In addition, while many car accident cases involve auto insurance claims, some do not. If a road defect, vehicle defect, or any other non-driver-related factor caused your accident, you may not be limited to seeking auto insurance coverage. These at-fault and third-party claims are best handled with the assistance of an experienced car accident lawyer.

How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help?

From investigating the cause of your accident to filing all available claims on your behalf to being by your side every step of the way, there are numerous ways a dedicated Orlando car accident attorney can help you after a collision in Florida, including:

  • Gathering & preserving evidence
  • Interviewing witnesses
  • Consulting with experts
  • Negotiating with insurance companies
  • Calculating your damages
  • Filing your claim
  • Representing you in court
  • Handling all paperwork & deadlines
  • Providing legal advice & guidance
  • Protecting your rights & interests
  • Ensuring fair compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain & suffering

To make sure you do not settle for less than you deserve for your injuries, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible.

Contact the Dedicated Attorneys at Colling Gilbert Wright Today

So, do police determine fault in an accident? No. However, their reports can be vital evidence that your Orlando car accident lawyer can use to prove fault to insurance companies or in court.

Relief from the financial, emotional, and physical strain after an unforeseen accident is an important piece of recovery. You needn’t seek recompense alone. If you were injured in a car accident in Florida, the dedicated attorneys at Colling Gilbert Wright can help you assert your legal rights and pursue compensation for your injuries.

To get started with a FREE consultation, contact us today! We are proud to serve our neighbors here in Orlando and throughout the state of Florida.

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