Who's Responsible if Both Drivers were at Fault for a Car Accident?

Can both drivers be at fault? How does car insurance work if you're at fault or not?
Christine Lacagnina Written by Christine Lacagnina
Christine Lacagnina
Written by Christine Lacagnina

Christine Lacagnina has written thousands of insurance-based articles for TrustedChoice.com by authoring consumable, understandable content.

Reviewer: Jeffrey Green Reviewed by Jeffrey Green
Reviewer: Jeffrey Green
Reviewed by Jeffrey Green

Jeff Green has held a variety of sales and management roles at life insurance companies, Wall street firms, and distribution organizations over his 40-year career.  He was previously Finra 7,24,66 registered and held life insurance licenses in multiple states. He is a graduate of Stony Brook University.

Two men examining damage in car collision. Who's responsible for damages if both drivers were at fault?

One thing that can make car accidents even more stressful is determining which driver was at fault and is responsible for the damage. Unfortunately, these things aren’t always easy to determine. So what happens if both drivers were at fault? Who’s responsible and who pays?

Luckily an independent insurance agent can help not only answer this question for you, but also help you get set up with the right car insurance. Here’s how they’d help you get protected against car accidents where both drivers are considered to be at fault.

Can Both Drivers Be at Fault in an Accident?

Yes, depending on which state the accident occurred in. Some states have a “comparative liability law,” which assigns each driver a percentage of the fault for accidents in which one party was not completely responsible. But this isn’t the case for all states.

According to insurance expert, Jeffery Green, in places considered “no-fault” states, each driver’s insurance company pays their own medical bills, health insurance costs, lost wages and other expenses. Contrastingly, in “fault” states, the at-fault party is responsible for all damage.

How Does Car Insurance Work if You’re at Fault?

The way car insurance works if you were at fault for an accident depends on your state’s laws. If you live in an at-fault state, you’d be responsible for all damage, which would be paid out by your car insurance policy.

Green added that if your own vehicle got damaged and you didn’t carry optional collision coverage, you’d have to pay for the repairs yourself. An independent insurance agent can help you get set up with each type of car insurance needed to protect you.

How Does Car Insurance Work in a No Fault State?

If you live in a no fault state, your car own car insurance would cover your expenses like lost income, medical treatments, health insurance deductibles, etc. Your car insurance would cover you even if you 100% caused the accident, and if it happened in a no fault state.

Even in no fault states, the at-fault party is responsible for paying certain damage, such as to the vehicle and other property like houses, fences, etc. Your car insurance policy would outline all these details, or an independent insurance agent can help find them for you.

What If an At-Fault Driver Doesn’t Carry Car Insurance?

Green said that if an at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, you’d have to collect damages from them yourself. But an optional type of car insurance called uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage can help make this uncomfortable situation much easier.


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Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage reimburses for the following situations

  • Injuries to the accident victim and their passengers
  • Damage to the vehicle and other property owned by the accident victim

An independent insurance agent can help you determine if adding uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage makes sense for you.

Who Pays if Both Drivers Were at Fault?

That depends entirely on which type of state you live in. In the “modified comparative negligence” states, accident victims must have been declared less than 50% at fault for the collision in order to receive payout benefits from insurance. Though this isn’t the hard rule for all states in this category.

To determine which category your state falls into and what you’d be responsible for paying if you were found to be at fault for an accident, work with an independent insurance agent. They can tell you your state’s classification when it comes to at fault or not, and what exactly your car insurance would cover in various scenarios.

Where Can I Find Car Insurance?

Many insurance companies could offer you car insurance, but finding coverage will depend on where you live. Here’s a look at some of the current top car insurance companies in the US. An independent insurance agent can help you decide if their coverage is a good fit for you.

Best Car Insurance Companies Star Rating
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Here’s How an Independent Insurance Agent Would Help

When it comes to protecting drivers in double-fault accidents and all other strange incidents, no one’s better equipped to help than an independent insurance agent. Independent insurance agents search through multiple carriers to find providers who specialize in car insurance, deliver quotes from a number of different sources and help you walk through them all to find the best blend of coverage and cost.

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