What If I was Partially at Fault in the Accident that Caused my Injury?
When it comes to assigning fault, the other party’s car insurance company will do everything they can to place any blame on you. If it turns out that you do share some fault that caused the vehicle collision, it will likely affect how much you will be receiving in your settlement offer. After you’ve submitted your insurance claim, your insurance company will negotiate with the other party’s insurance company on your behalf. Together, the companies will decide what is fair compensation for each party.
Rear-end car collisions are considered the most straightforward types of cases in assigning responsibility. The driver who does the rear-ending is deemed 100 percent responsible for the accident, and his or her insurance company must pay for the accident victim’s bills, up to their policy limit. However, if the driver was pushed into your vehicle by another vehicle, he or she could claim damages from the vehicle that hit him.
Another straightforward liability scenario is a left-turn collision. In this case, the driver turning left is at fault, as the driver going straight as the right of way. While there are few exceptions, such as the other driver speeding or running a red light, assigning fault in a left-turn collision typically falls on the driver turning left.
However, not all cases are as clean-cut as a rear-end or left-turn collision. When you are partially at fault in an accident, the claims process becomes more complicated. Two separate investigations must take place, in which the drivers, passengers, and potential witnesses are involved. The objective of these investigations is to determine what percentage of fault will be assigned to each driver. When these percentages have been established, insurance coverage will be allocated accordingly to each party based of the percentages of fault.
Under common law, every state follows one of two different types of fault rules in personal injury cases. The state of California follows a comparative negligence system, which reduces a personal injury’s plaintiff’s compensation damages when he or she bears some level of fault for a vehicle collision. It allocates fault between the parties. A defendant can raise a partial defense by claiming the plaintiff was at fault for the accident too. For example, if a truck ran a stop sign and hit your vehicle, but you forgot to signal that you were turning left, the other driver’s insurance company can argue that you were 30% at fault and their driver, 70%. If this ends up being the agreement between both insurance companies, the other driver can recover 70% of his or her injury damages from the truck driver’s insurance company.
Now, some states have adopted a contributory negligence system which constitutes that a plaintiff has no claim to any compensation for damages if he or she bears any amount of blame for the vehicle collision. Accident victims are equally at faulty, even if the other driver’s fault is a higher degree than theirs.
In summary, any partial fault that can be proven against you will reduce your settlement offer that is offered as as compensation for your damages. In the states that have adopted a contributory negligence system, you will are unable to have any claim on any compensation award if any blame rests on you.