Who Determines Fault in an Auto Accident? A Simple Guide


In 2019, car accidents led to 38,000 deaths. Thousands more faced hospital visits and minor injuries.

The fact of the matter is, driving can be dangerous. Knowing what to do in the event of an accident can help keep you, your family, and your fellow drivers safe.

But who determines fault in an auto accident, and is there anything you can do if you feel wronged? Absolutely! Keep reading to learn about what happens following a car accident and what you should do to contest fault.

Who Determines Fault in an Auto Accident?

Determining fault is the responsibility of the police officer responding to the accident.

Once they arrive at the scene, they’ll assess the damage to both vehicles, as well as any property. Then, they’ll ask all drivers involved to recount the accident to the best of their ability.

They’ll use this information to fill out an accident report. All drivers will receive a copy of the accident report, and it’s important to keep it for insurance purposes.

The officer will then determine fault, giving the responsible driver a ticket. Or, in extreme cases, like if a driver is intoxicated or is operating a vehicle with an expired license, the officer may make an arrest.

How to Contest an At-Fault Accident

When in an accident should you admit fault, or is it in your best interest to remain silent? If you believe the accident assessment was unfair, it’s within your rights to contact your insurance provider for a second opinion. Though doing so is rare, it can get a faulty assessment overturned.

For that reason, it’s always suggested that you take photos of the scene of the accident as you wait for the police. 

Steps to Take After an Accident

The first few moments after a car accident are vital. Knowing what to do might just save your life — or at least keep you out of legal hot water.

Start by calling the police, along with an ambulance. Even if you and the other driver(s) involved seem fine, it’s best to have a medical professional give their opinion.

So what about that awkward talk after an accident?

Though your first instinct might be to apologize to the other driver, try and stay quiet. Of course, you can check on them. But an apology is considered an admission of guilt, so don’t admit fault after a car accident.

Finally, once you’re back at home, call your insurance provider as soon as you can to file a claim. The officer responding to the accident will provide them with a copy of the report, but you may need to provide additional evidence, especially if you intend to contest the claim.

Be Smart, Stay Safe

Now that you know more about who determines fault in an auto accident, along with what factors play a role in determining fault and what you should do if you’re ever in an accident, use this info to keep safe.

Defensive driving is safe driving. Forget about your cellphone and keep the volume to a reasonable level. Your family will thank you!

For more tips on safety, be sure to check back with our blog!

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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