Can You Still File a Claim if You Admitted Fault to the Insurance Company?
Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Feb 09, 2021 in Auto Accidents
Most crash victims are not prepared to deal with the insurance claims process. They are unsure what to say to the insurance adjuster when he or she calls. Crash victims often feel the need to tell the insurance company about how their actions may have contributed to the accident.
Even if your actions may have contributed to the crash, it is never a good idea to tell the insurance company that. It is possible you are wrong, and it is better to let the investigation play out. If you admit fault, the insurance company may simply deny your claim, even if your role in the crash was small.
However, even if you admit fault, you may still be able to file a claim for compensation. It is important to contact a licensed attorney and discuss the details of the situation. An attorney can help determine if you may have a valid claim for compensation.
The Role of Fault in a Car Accident Claim
Arizona is an at-fault state, which means that a driver who causes a crash is financially liable for any damages that result. However, victims must prove the other driver is at fault to be able to pursue compensation from the other driver’s insurance policy.
There are some situations where the victim is partially at fault for a crash and may also share liability for the damages. Even then, Arizona’s comparative negligence law says victims who are partially at fault can recover compensation. Unlike some states, Arizona does not prohibit victims from pursuing a claim if they bear too much fault for an accident. Technically, you could be 99 percent to blame and still be eligible to recover compensation.
However, if your Phoenix auto accident lawyer recovers compensation, the amount you receive will be reduced based on your percentage of fault. If you were 10 percent to blame, your award would also be reduced by 10 percent.
Problems with Admitting Fault
Admitting fault will likely result in the same outcome as if you were assigned fault by the insurance company – it reduces the amount of compensation you receive. That is why accident victims should never admit fault for an accident. It can result in them being assigned more fault than they deserve for a crash.
If you tell the insurance company you are partially to blame, they may use that as a basis to deny your claim. They may say you are entirely at fault, even though the other driver was negligent. The insurance company may do this even if you do not say anything incriminating. Ill-advised statements to the insurance company could make it easier for them to build a case against you.
If you think you are partially to blame, you should keep it to yourself and only discuss the issue with your attorney. Conversations with your attorney about your case are protected by attorney-client privilege. However, if you already spoke to the insurance company and said you were partially at fault or made statements that could be interpreted that way, tell your attorney. You do not want him or her to be surprised later.
Your attorney’s investigation of the accident should reveal whether your negligence played a role, and if so, what percentage of fault you may bear for what happened.
You may still be eligible to pursue compensation, but this is something you need to discuss with a licensed attorney. An attorney’s goal is to pursue maximum compensation, which is in your best interest.
You May Not be at Fault
Accident victims tend to think they are at fault for a crash. That is why victims often apologize when discussing an accident, even when they are not to blame. However, simply saying “I’m sorry” to the insurance company could give them a reason to try to deny your claim.
That is why it is best to discuss this issue with your attorney and not the insurance company. An experienced attorney can help determine if you were actually at fault in any way.
Find Out How an Attorney May be Able to Help
Unsure if you need an attorney?
You should still contact one and explain what happened. That way you can learn what your legal options may be – at no cost to you - and how a lawyer can assist you.
Phillips Law Group has been helping the injured in Arizona for more than 28 years and we have obtained millions in damages on their behalf. We work on contingency, which means there are no upfront fees or obligations. We are only paid for representing you if you receive compensation.
Free Consultation. Call today to learn more. Ph: 1-800-706-3000.