What Is an At-Fault Accident?

An at-fault accident is a car accident caused by a driver’s negligence. Legally, negligence is failing to take reasonable care to prevent harm to another person. This could mean you failed to do something, such as stopping at a red light, or you did something careless, like driving while fatigued.

Other examples of negligence on the road include:

In most states, the driver at fault will have to pay for the other person’s injuries and any damage to their vehicle. This is covered by your , which all drivers must have in every state except Alaska, New Hampshire and Virginia. Virginia waives the requirement if you pay a $500 fee, and Alaska exempts certain drivers. Meanwhile,  New Hampshire drivers must prove they can pay for the other driver’s property damage and injuries in an at-fault accident.

However, liability coverage won’t pay for your medical bills if you’re at fault. Instead, your health insurance or medical payments coverage will pay for any injuries you have from an at-fault accident.

, if you have it, will cover damage to your car.

Twelve states don’t assign blame after an accident. Instead, they require .

No-fault insurance, also referred to as or PIP, pays for your medical bills, lost wages and other expenses no matter who’s responsible for the crash. However, the driver who caused the accident will still pay for any damage to your car.

Typically, an insurance adjuster will look at evidence such as police reports, vehicle damage and even weather conditions to determine how much a driver is at fault. Often, both drivers carry some degree of responsibility.

Before reaching a settlement, auto insurers must take into account negligence laws, which differ by state. These laws determine if you can seek payment from another driver after an accident and how much you can request. Different negligence laws include:

This post was originally published on Nerd Wallet

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