Car crashes are no laughing matter. When you find yourself involved in one, it can turn your world upside down. Depending on the severity of the accident, you may find yourself driving away with nothing but a little dent, or you may wake up in the hospital.

What if you are the reason the accident happened? It may take minutes, hours or even weeks to sort it all, but you are ultimately found to be the at-fault driver. What does it mean in terms of your insurance, driving privileges and bank account? Take a look at what happens if you are found at-fault for an accident.

Insurance Laws

Every state has its way of setting the standard for how insurance companies deal with car accidents. Some states are considered no-fault states, while others are at fault. If you live in a no-fault state, each driver submits their accident claim through their carrier. Carriers then pay out up to your policy limits to fix your vehicle or pay medical bills through personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Sometimes, if injuries are severe enough, the person who caused the accident may be personally sued by the other driver.

In an at-fault state, the drivers submit information to their respective carriers, who then decide liability. Many states do some type of shared responsibility. Through an investigation, they may find that while one driver was mostly responsible, the other played some role. In this way, drivers may share in liability, each being entitled to their proportionate share of the fault. In other states, if one driver carries all the blame, their carrier is responsible for paying for the other driver’s damages and bills. There is still the possibility of a civil suit against the responsible party.

Damages and Your Policy

When talking about damages, insurance companies are not only referring to property damage but physical as well. Even in a lower-impact crash, people can get serious injuries. Some examples include:

  • Brain injury
  • Spinal injury
  • Fractures

Depending on where you live, your carrier may have to pay out for the other driver’s injuries. The amount they pay is based on the terms of your policy. If you only carry your state-minimum coverage and cause a serious accident, you may find yourself in court for a civil suit. If your actions were negligent, such as driving while under the influence, you may also be charged in a criminal court.

Causing an accident can be troublesome. Knowing what type of policy you have is the first step in understanding how the process will get handled. Speaking to a car accident lawyer in Tampa, FL may, such as from Jeff Murphy Law, help you get a grip on what you’re facing.