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Should I Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident That Was My Fault?

September 10, 2021 By Flora Templeton Stuart

Image of an At Fault Driver Inspecting DamagePersonal injury attorneys generally do not represent someone who was at fault in a car accident.  This is because personal injury attorneys handle these cases on a contingency fee basis which means they only get paid a percentage from the settlement or recovery they collect for the injured client who is not at fault.  If you are at fault causing a collision such as running a red light or speeding and there are no other factors causing that collision except yourself, you would be represented by your own automobile insurance company and they could assign an attorney to your case if needed.  This would be covered under your liability policy of your vehicle insurance.  At Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers, we only represent people who are injured through no fault of their own in car and vehicle accidents.

What Should I Do If I Caused a Car Accident Through My Own Negligence?

There are several important steps you should take when being involved in a collision that is your fault:

  1. At the accident scene, immediately contact the police and 911 for medical help if there are any injured persons at the scene.
  2. Do not move your vehicle unless you must for safety reasons, but only move as little as possible. It is important the police have an opportunity to properly investigate the collision.
  3. Make sure that the other driver and passengers involved in the wreck do not need help.
  4. Wait for the emergency medical personnel to assist medically if there are injuries.
  5. Be honest with the police as to what happened at the collision.
  6. Get medical attention if you are injured.

The above are actions to take after being involved in an accident that is your fault at the scene.  After the emergency of the collision you should do the following:

  1. Contact your own auto insurance company by calling them and setting up a claim. Be diligent to be sure that you get through to your own insurance agent so this can be reported immediately and they can open a file to represent your interests.
  2. Do not under any circumstances give a statement to the other party such as their attorney or their insurance company. Your own insurance company is the best to represent your position.
  3. There may be comparative negligence. In other words, even though you are at fault the party in the other vehicle may have been negligent themselves.  They may have failed to wear a seatbelt which caused greater injury.  They may have failed to keep a proper outlook for other vehicles.  Your own insurance company will be responsible to investigate any contributory fault on the part of the other driver.

Can I Get Insurance to Pay For My Vehicle That Was Damaged in the Accident Even Though I Was At Fault?

Assuming that you have collision coverage which is full coverage for your vehicle for property damage with your own car insurance they will be paying the repairs for your vehicle or a replacement if your car was totaled.  Generally they will go by BlueBook value which considers milage and condition of the vehicle with type, model and age when figuring market value if the car has been totaled.  If the vehicle needs repairs you want to locate your own repair shop so they will be on your side in making repairs to make sure it is done in the best manner.

It is best for your insurance company to handle repairs directly with the repair shop rather than giving you a check for your property damage repairs.  If you vehicle was totaled you may also keep your vehicle for salvage value often at a very low amount.  This can be advantageous to you if your car is still operable or you want to do your own repairs.  There is always a deductible, usually $500.00 to $1,000.00 for property damage claims.  If you damages are very minor (under $2,000) you may not want to put in a claim since this could affect your insurance rates in the future.

I’m At Fault and I Was Charged With a Crime. What Should I Do?

If you were not only negligent in causing the collision, but acted in a way that violated the law you will likely be cited and brought to court.  This could include being intoxicated while operating the vehicle, operating the vehicle without insurance or drivers license.  In these cases you would want to retain a defense attorney who handles criminal cases to represent you in court. If it is a minor infraction such as no insurance then you should immediately retain insurance and bring proof to the court that you have obtained car insurance.  However, if it is a more serious infraction such as a DUI you need to immediately retain a criminal attorney who can defend you in court.

What If I Am Injured In A Wreck That Was My Fault?

In the state of Kentucky even though you are at fault it is called a “no-fault state”.  When you are injured in a collision regardless of fault you will have afforded to you Personal Injury Protection benefits (PIP) which will give a minimum of $10,000.00 (this amount can be increased on your policy) to pay your medical expenses, lost wages, replacement services, home care, reimburse prescriptions and in some cases even milage to physicians.  It is very important that you never waive your PIP policy on your insurance, which can be increased by you for future coverage.  PIP benefits will be paid from your own car insurance afforded to you at the time of the wreck.

 What If I Do Not Have Enough Liability Insurance To Pay Claim?

Automobile liability insurance are the policy limits afforded to you in the event that you cause injury to another person and/or property damage in a vehicle collision.  Minimal limits required in Kentucky for collision insurance is $25,000 per person and $50,000 for a collision (25/50).  In most cases you should increase this amount to cover any assets you may have such as a home, savings, or other properties which could be liquidated.  The amount of coverage should be greater than your assets.  In general, 25/50 is not adequate for coverage and it is highly recommended that you increase this coverage to at least 100/300 and/or 300/500. In the event that you have assets greater than $500,000 then it is recommended that you obtain umbrella insurance that can be purchased at a very minimal amount to protect your assets in the event that you are liable or responsible for an accident. Increasing these coverages is often a reasonable cost.  You can always find competitive quotes from different insurance companies to get the best rate but make sure that you select an insurance company that is reliable and trustworthy with a good reputation.  You do not want the cheapest policy available.  

What If I Am Sued?

The great majority of automobile accident cases even when there are injuries are resolved or settled out of court.  In the event that you are sued for a car wreck that you caused then your own car insurance company will retain counsel to represent you and provide a defense.  This is part of your benefits of having automobile insurance. 

Should I Contact My Own Attorney If I Was At Fault In The Collision?

At Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers, we only represent injured persons where we can hold another person or company responsible and collect damages for our clients. Therefore it is very important that you immediately contact your own insurance carrier who may retain an attorney if needed for your representation.  This would be at no cost to you since this is covered under your automobile insurance policy.

For more information, please don’t wait to contact or call us at 888-782-9090 today.  Click  here to find out what sets us apart from other firms in the area.

Author Photo

Flora Templeton Stuart

Flora Templeton Stuart is the lead attorney and founder of the law firm Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers, established in 1976. Flora goes to work every day to make a difference in her community and the lives of her clients. When you call you will get a personal representation and an attorney who truly cares.