Figuring out who should bill or pay whom in a car accident is a juggling nightmare. If you live in a "no fault" accident state, everyone files a claim with their own insurance company, even when the accident was clearly the fault of the drunk driver or the person that hit and run a parked vehicle. In all other states, the process can be confusing. Here is how it usually goes. 

You Exchange Insurance Information with the Other Driver

Usually you exchange insurance information with the other driver, unless you or he/she does not have insurance at all. Then you have to let the police sort it out. If you do not call the police, it leaves the situation wide open for you to sue the other driver, or the other driver to sue you because there are no accident reports and there are no witnesses to confirm or deny that the accident happened the way you or the other driver said it did. Always call the police, and always exchange insurance information. 

Your Insurance Company Looks at the Accident Report and Damages to Determine Who Is at Fault

In a state that still practices "at fault" car accident policies, your insurance will look at the accident report and pictures of the damages. The claims specialists will review everything on the accident, and may even call the numbers of any witnesses who spoke to the police. The claims specialist determines the fault percentage as 30/70, 20/80, 60/40, 50/50, or any other combination of percentages to reflect how much "fault" you had in the accident.

The second number in that set speaks to the amount of fault of the other driver, and that driver's auto insurance is responsible to pay that much of your damages after you meet your deductibles. To make up any losses, your insurance may opt to forego paying anything on the claim and pursue the other insurance company to make compensation for you. You may also choose to sue the other driver's insurance company to cover your deductibles and your percentage of "at fault" damages from the accident if you feel that you should not have been considered at fault at all. 

Lawsuits May Still Ensue

A lot of states switched over to "no fault" accident insurance when it became clear that people might be abusing the insurance system by still suing the other drivers in an accident, or suing the other drivers' insurance companies. You may still be the defendant or plaintiff in a lawsuit in these cases, especially if the other insurance company determines that the percentage of fault lies with you and not with their insured driver. Underinsured and completely uninsured motorists are sued as well.