Auto insurance claims expert witnesses may opine on policies, auto repairs, and injury claims. In Who is at Fault? Auto Insurance Claim Advice writes:
Learn How Insurance Companies Determine Fault
Who is at fault for the accident? How does a claim adjuster determine that you are at fault? While we are answering these questions, we can also ask, “How does a judge, an attorney, an arbitrator, or a jury determine that someone is at fault or “more” at fault than someone else?”
When determining fault, insurance companies and the legal community use the term “liability”. Liability really equates to fault when talking about car accidents. Liability in turn equates to negligence.
When insurance adjusters look at fault, they are really looking at the legal concept of negligence.
Negligence is a “tort”, which is defined as a civil wrong. When someone “wrongs” you (hits your car), then that someone committed a civil wrong against you. This means that you can take them to a civil court to seek remedies.
Why is this important? It is important because the Law of Torts is what rules the way insurance companies look at car accidents. The key thing to remember is that the tort of negligence LACKS a very important element – INTENT.
When dealing with car accidents, we are assuming that no one tried or intended the wreck. If the accident was caused by an intentional hit, the analysis would fall outside the realm of negligence. It would still be a civil wrong, but it would be called “An Intentional Tort”.
Assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, trespassing, false imprisonment, and conversion are all intentional torts. They can also fall within the realm of criminal law.
If you can show that the accident was intentional, the responsible person can go to jail for assault (criminal assault) and be sued in civil court for money damages (intentional tort of assault).
Most car accidents fall within in the tort of negligence. By law (United States Supreme Court decisions), in order to prove someone negligent there are certain elements that must show upon the preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).