What to Do When the Car Accident Is Not Your Fault

In a car accident, most people will know who’s at fault – the other party! Very few will state upfront that the accident is their fault – human beings place self-preservation foremost, after all. However, if the car accident is really not your fault, what should you do if the offending driver refuses to back down?

What to Do When the Car Accident Is Not Your Fault

Discuss Whether or Not to Make a Claim

Assuming that the accident was fairly minor and the police were not called to the scene, the drivers involved in the accident should discuss the implications of the accident. If the other party is prepared to accept responsibility for the accident, then the road ahead is clear – sign a written consent form, stating that the other party has claimed responsibility for the accident, and discuss whether you would like to settle the case without involving the insurance companies.

However, even with the signed form, the offending driver might change his or her mind, and proceed to press claims against you. This is the reason why you should take down the driver’s contact details, the time of the accident and possibility photographs of the accident as evidence.

Simultaneously, you should be searching for witnesses of the accident as well. The passengers of the vehicles do not count as objective witnesses – they are somehow related to the drivers involved in the accident, after all. You will need to find others in the area – other drivers, passersby, or nearby store owners. It is never a good idea to ask for witnesses to make a statement at the scene of the accident; taking down their contact details will be enough in case further investigation is required.

One thing worth noting is to authenticate the contact details of the other driver and the witnesses before they leave the scene. This ensures that they do not give you bogus names or telephone numbers, which will make them untraceable after the accident, putting the case against you.

Making a Claim Against a Third Party

If none of the drivers accepts responsibility, the insurance companies of each driver will conduct independent investigations to determine who’s at fault.

All relevant details of the accidents should be passed to the insurers when making a claim. There, your insurance company will handle all the administrative work – they will arrange for interviews with you, with witnesses that you have gathered, compile evidence, correspond with the other driver’s insurance company to compile notes and eventually come to a conclusion. However, this process will take months, even years, before the claim is approved by either insurance company.

What Happens If the Other Party Has No Insurance?

In the unfortunate event that the other party involved in the accident has no insurance coverage, the situation will become much more complicated. The fact that they are driving around without insurance will usually come to light at the scene of the accident when you are asking for their contact details.

Once again, it is very important for the driver who is involved in the accident to remain calm and try to get accurate identification details – the driver without proper insurance coverage will not want to do that, and may leave a bogus name and phone number for you in order to escape the scene of accident as quickly as possible.

In this instance, the innocent party will have no option but to claim for damages against their own insurance and absorb all ancillary costs. In turn, their insurance will make a personal claim against the uninsured driver, which will go to court. If the proper details of the accident have been presented then the court will almost always find in favor of the joint claimants (the insurance company and the innocent driver) and all the costs of the case will also fall on the perpetrator. It can be a long drawn out procedure but this is the only option that the innocent driver has.

As mentioned, the same scenario can occur when a driver who had initially taken responsibility reneges on their promise. This can also escalate to a court case if not handled properly, which will definitely take up a large portion of your time as you trudge around mired the court proceedings. These cases may take up to a year to be resolved.


Whenever an accident happens, pray that the other driver will claim responsibility. This makes things much more smooth-sailing – and you probably won’t have to involve the insurance companies, causing your premiums and deductibles to spike because of this.

While the majority of drivers who caused the accident are usually prepared to accept responsibility and cooperate with the innocent driver, there are always those who are unwilling to be responsible. As such, the rule of thumb for any accident, even one that is clearly not your fault, is to gather as much evidence that stands for your case as possible at the scene of the accident.


  Comments: 8

  1. I had an accident a few years ago that is still effecting insurance quotes. I was found at fault simply because i didnt have a witness there was no camera and the other driver had 3 passenger’s that blamed me. I want this removed from my record because i was not at fault but i dont know how to go about it. I was turning at a green light they where stopped at a red light and as soon as it turned green they stomped on the gas peddle and rammed into the passenger side rear wheel well/trunk. The officer told me he installed the lights at that intersection and there is a timing problem with the lights and there are many accidents there every month yet they still pinned it on me. I feel like a victim and i just want a little justice. The woman who hit me lost her job over the lie she told the police so i got my justice with her i dont want a law suit just a change on record saying not at fault.

  2. kathrina lewis

    If you have been injured in any accident the most important thing is to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. You are mostly entitled to compensation, but in every scenario there must be a different case and also there are limitations time for which you can file a claim.

  3. I had a accident off the side of the road my car was on the road about 2ft and the rest on the side, cars taking a blind turn stopped, the third rammed the two, all 3 cars got dented. None of them hit my car but I’m still getting blamed because if it wasn’t for my accident that wouldn’t have happened? Is this right or wrong

    • Andrew@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hi Angel,
      I’m sorry to hear about the accident, even though your car didn’t directly hit any of the other cars. It’s difficult to say for sure how much, if any, of the fault, is yours. If you have insurance, then your insurance company will be fighting this with the other insurance companies to determine who is at fault for what. It’s possible that some of the accident is your fault, but what percentage is hard to determine. If none of the other cars actually collided with you, then it’s reasonable to assume that one or more of the other cars share some of the faults.

  4. my boyfriend was in an accident last night, he was driving a truck that he was talking over payments on from a friend. he was informed at tag office that he no longer had a valid license and it had been suspended due to child support. after paying child support and having to go to the municiple courthouse to take care of a traffic violation that had not been taken care of as well, he planned on going next week and transferring the
    registration and doing the title ect.. he was in an non-fault accident last night and was hit, they towed his truck to tow yard being its going to need a new tie-rod and is undrivable. the tow yard wont allow him to even get his stuff out of the truck without proof of ownership which he doesnt have and hasnt been able to make contact with his friend the owner. As well as was able to manage walking away from the vehicle the wreck without getting the insurance information from the driver at fault what should he do???????

    • Andrew@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hi Jamie,
      Unfortunately, there isn’t much your boyfriend can do at the moment because he didn’t take the necessary steps when he should have. The first problem was not getting the other person’s insurance information from the wreck, taking pictures of the wreck, or getting any other documentation, such as a police report. It’s always important to do this, otherwise, there is no way of proving it’s a not-at-fault accident. Secondly, he has to get the paperwork from the person he is buying it from. From the tow yard’s perspective, they need to see documentation showing proof of ownership, otherwise, it could be a stolen vehicle.

  5. I was involved in minor fender bender about 6 months ago, with the other driver being at fault. I’m having difficult in communicating with the insurance claim adjuster, even by email. The adjuster is NOT returning my emails in finding out the status of my claim. What do I need to do? I did NOT want to report the adjuster!

    • Andrew@4AutoInsuranceQuote

      Hi Kelly,
      I’m assuming you are talking about the other person’s insurance claims adjuster? If so, there isn’t much you can do, unfortunately. These situations are partly why some insurance companies have a negative reputation, when they’re dealing with their own customers’ accidents and must pay the 3rd parties, in this case, you. The best thing you can do is just continue to contact them. If you have their phone number, then call them. If you keep getting ignored, try to speak with a supervisor. Also, you could turn this into your own insurance company, who could pay you for the damages and then they would be responsible for reclaiming that money from the at-fault person’s insurance.

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