Who Is Considered At-Fault in an Auto Accident?

Determining who is legally responsible in an auto accident requires identifying who the negligent party is. In most cases, it’s a matter of common sense, but often drivers don’t know exactly which laws were broken by the at-fault party. This makes it more difficult to prove a case to an insurer when making a claim.

When you’re not sure who did what, where can you find out?

1. Police Reports

If you or the other party called the police or 911 after the accident to report injuries, there will be a police report, and you can contact your local law enforcement traffic division to ask for a copy of the report.

Many police reports contain a responding officer’s opinion about who was at-fault. If one party clearly violated any laws, the officer will have documented it in the report.

Typically, any mention of the other party breaking traffic laws will be enough to tell your insurer that you were not at fault.

2. State Laws

If the report doesn’t have the information you need, you can also search your state traffic laws to find out whether the other party violated the law.

You can often find information on the DMV website. A driver handbook also will typically outline most instances of traffic violations. The handbooks are written in laymen’s terms so they are easy to understand.

3. No-Doubt Liability

In some accidents, the other driver is almost always considered at-fault.

For example, if another motorist hits the back of your car, the insurance company will typically consider them at-fault because they were most likely following too closely or failed to react in time when you put on your brakes.

A basic rule of the road in every state is that a driver should follow the vehicle ahead at a safe enough distance to be able to stop even if the other person brakes suddenly.

In a rear-end accident, the damage itself may serve as proof. One driver’s vehicle will be damaged on the front end, and the other driver’s vehicle will have damage to the rear.

However, even if you were rear-ended, there are still a few situations where your own carelessness may be considered a contributing factor to the accident, including brake lights that needed to be replaced or other mechanical issues that should have been repaired.

Left-turn accidents also don’t leave much wiggle room for which driver is considered at-fault. Anyone turning left who is struck by a vehicle going straight from the opposite direction is considered at-fault unless: 1) They were making the left turn at a green arrow; 2) they were at a 4-way stop and had the right-of-way; or 3) the oncoming vehicle was speeding excessively, making it difficult to judge the distance for a safe turn.

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Rely Solely on Your Employer’s Life Insurance Coverage

These days, fewer employers are offering life insurance to workers as an employee benefit. In 2016, only 48% of employers offered life insurance as an employee perk, reflecting a steady decline of 23% compared to 2006 levels, according to the Life Insurance Marketing and Research Association (LIMRA).

The decline is curious, given that most employees rank employer-paid life insurance as an “important” or “very important” part of their benefits package.

Americans are underinsured.

Americans are dangerously underprotected when it comes to life insurance. Three in four American households without life insurance report they would have immediate or near-immediate trouble paying for basic living expenses in the event of the death of a primary wage earner.

Unfortunately, relying solely on group life insurance coverage from your employer may not be sufficient. Tax laws limit the deductibility of employer-paid life insurance premiums to those required to provide a death benefit of $50,000, when many American working families need several times that amount of protection. Even among those who have group life insurance from their employers, 50% still report they would have immediate or near-immediate hardship in the event of a breadwinner’s unexpected death, according to LIMRA figures.

Own your own coverage

Even if employers weren’t cutting back on life insurance as an employee benefit, plenty of reasons to contact an insurance agent and start your own life insurance policy:

Reason 1: It goes where you go. If you leave your place of employment, you might lose your coverage. If you have a history of health issues, it might be difficult or impossible to get life insurance at that time. By owning your own policy, you won’t have to worry about losing your life insurance when you leave the company.
 Reason 2: More coverage. While employers often limit what they’ll pay for to a death benefit of $50,000, or one to two times your salary, this is often not nearly enough. Experts often recommend owning at least 10 to 20 years’ worth of your current income in life insurance protection — particularly for younger families who are early in their careers.
 Reason 3: More features. While most workplace life insurance policies are one-size-fits-all, buying your coverage from an agent in the open market means you can customize your insurance policy. For example, you can choose whole life or universal life insurance for permanent life insurance that accumulates cash value.

You can also obtain coverage for your spouse or domestic partner, regardless of whether they are working. You can also choose to layer affordable term insurance with permanent coverage and convert your term insurance to more valuable permanent coverage over time, as your income increases.
 Reason 4: Broader protection. As you go through your insurance needs analysis, you might discover a need for other forms of insurance protection not provided by your employer. Since 2006, employers have become less likely to offer important insurance benefits like long-term care insurance, critical illness or cancer insurance, and long-term disability coverage.
 Reason 5: You control the policy. If you get all your life insurance from your employer, they could shut their doors, lay you off, go bankrupt, or simply cancel the benefit tomorrow. Again, if you have a medical history, it could be difficult or impossible to line up replacement coverage. By owning your own policy and not relying on your employer, you guarantee that no one can terminate the policy except you.