What to do if I was in a car accident on the highway and am wrongly being held at fault?

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What to do if I was in a car accident on the highway and am wrongly being held at fault?

The ambulance came and took me to the hospital. The police did not take a statement from me or any of my passengers but they did take a statement from the people that hit me. Now they are saying I am at fault when I know I am not at fault. Is there a lawyer that will help prove that I was not at fault?

Asked on November 21, 2014 under Accident Law, Minnesota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Only a court, such as in a civil case (if you are sued) or a criminal case (if they try to prosecute you)  can hold you to be "at fault"--if anyone but a court says you are at fault, that is their opinion, and while it may be a knowledgable opinion (such as that of the highway patrol or an insurance adjuster), entitled to respect, it stll has no legal effect. Only if and when a court finds fault is there legal effect.

You can certainly find an attorney to help you--either to defend you from liability, or to sue another person who you believe to be at fault--but you'll have to hire and pay that lawyer. If you can't afford an attorney--and that means literally *cannot* afford, not that you don't want to pay, or paying is a burden--and there is criminal action taken against you, then you should be able to get a public defender or someone from Legal Aid. If you are sued and need a lawyer and cannot afford one, you can try contacting Legal Services--they help people who can't afford lawyers in many, but not all civil cases--but be aware that they might not help you; there is no intrinsic right to a lawyer in civil (non-criminal) case). And if you want to sue someone else, you'll definitely have to hire an attorney.


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