Often, fault for a crash is straightforward. One driver runs a red light or turns right into the side of another vehicle, possibly because they had their eyes on their phone instead of on the road.
When the police respond to reports of the collision, they review the details and quickly assign fault to the driver who ran the light or who drove while distracted. That driver will be the person whose insurance pays for medical costs and property damage caused by the collision.
Still, sometimes there are circumstances where neither of the drivers involved in the crash is directly responsible for the collision. What happens if another driver caused the crash but managed not to get involved in it?
You need to alert police about your concerns right away
When police officers respond to the crash, you want to provide them with as much information about what caused the wreck as possible. If you saw the driver who hit you swerve because someone was on the wrong side of the road, describing that other vehicle to the officers could be an important step.
In fact, you might want to make a note about the make, model and license plate information you recall as soon as possible after the crash, either in writing or by making a short video with your phone. Those details could be important clues.
Even if that driver continues on without stopping, the information you provide could help police officers track them down. They may also be able to review footage from traffic cameras, dashboard cameras or security cameras nearby to identify the vehicle or verify the story you provided.
Insurance claims get complicated quickly with third-party fault
Even in a straightforward collision situation, negotiating an appropriate insurance payout can be difficult. When there is a third party who is technically responsible for the crash, it may be even harder for you to quickly connect with the insurance coverage that you need.
It may take some time for police officers to locate and identify the other driver. It’s also possible they will not be able to identify the person at fault, which can impact the kind of claim you have to make. Learning more about liability after a crash can help you manage a complex insurance claim.