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Why does the insurance company blame you for the car accident when the other driver got the ticket?

Posted by Raj Chohan | Mar 07, 2019

If you have been injured in a traffic accident in Colorado because of another driver's negligence you may be surprised to find out that the at-fault driver's insurance company may try to assign some of the blame to you.

This often comes up in left-turn cases. For example, you may be at a traffic light waiting for the green arrow to turn left.  You eventually get the green arrow and proceed into the intersection to make your left turn.  The at-fault driver fails to see or recognize the red light in their direction and drives through the intersection causing a T-bone collision with your vehicle.  When you make a claim to the at-fault driver's auto insurance company, the adjuster tells you that you are 35% at fault because you didn't check the intersection to make sure no one was coming from the other direction. The adjuster then tries to use that 35% purported negligence on your part to discount any medical bills or other claims for damages you have submitted. Befuddled and confused, you point out to the insurance company that you had the green arrow and the other vehicle had a red light.  You point out with exasperation that a police officer investigated the crash and wrote a ticket to the other driver for running a red light. The insurance adjuster listens sympathetically and then tells you they will talk to a manager. When they call back, they may tell you they will only assign 30% of the blame to you.  The adjuster will act like a big favor has been done for you.  Unless you have an attorney fighting on your behalf, you are likely to accept the insurance company's assessment with grumbling resignation.

Another way this scenario plays out is that you have a green light and you are approaching the intersection with the intention of driving straight through the intersection.  The light turns yellow a second or two before you enter the intersection.  The at-fault driver is coming from the opposite direction and is waiting to make a left turn.  The at-fault driver sees the yellow light and attempts to make the left turn in front of you as you are traveling through the intersection.  Your car collides with the passenger-side of the at-fault vehicle. You had the right of way, even with a yellow light.  The left-turner has failed to yield the right of way and will be ticketed just about every time in Colorado. Yet the at-fault driver's insurance company may attempt to assign 25% of the blame (or more) to you for failing to either stop or take evasive action to avoid the collision.  When you respond with frustration that the at-fault vehicle pulled directly in front of your vehicle leaving no time to stop or swerve, the adjuster may respond that their insured driver has a different version of the story.  When you point out that it would have been very dangerous to swerve without knowing whether other vehicles or pedestrians were around, the insurance adjuster will shrug and tell you that they have carefully looked at the facts and are sticking to their decision. When you point out that a police officer investigated the crash and wrote a ticket to the left-turner, the adjuster may say the cop did not have all the facts correctly documented.  Unless you have an attorney pushing back against the insurance company, there is a good chance you will simply accept what the insurance company is offering.

Insurance companies likely act in this manner because it is good for their profits and they know they can get away with it most of the time. They know most injury victims have never been in this situation before, and most people don't have the knowledge, experience or resources to fight back. By assigning part of the blame to you, the insurance company can substantially lower the amount of money it has to pay on your claim. When multiplied across the company's entire portfolio of car crash claims, this savings could result in many millions of dollars in additional income for the insurance company.

The Max Law Firm will always fight back against the insurance company's attempts to blame you for the negligence of the other driver. The Max understands how to negotiate with insurance companies, how to build a convincing case, which pressure points to push, and ultimately when to litigate a case in court. For a free consultation call 720-699-8268.

About the Author

Raj Chohan

Raj Chohan is a personal injury attorney with a passion for helping injured Coloradans seek the compensation they deserve and the justice their cases demand. He is a former prosecutor with extensive jury trial experience in some of the most complex and serious cases that exist under Colorado law...