If you are partially at fault for a car accident, you may still be able to seek compensation for your injuries from another negligent driver. However, the amount of compensation you receive depends on who is more at fault according to Missouri’s comparative fault rules. Learn more below:
What is Comparative Fault in Missouri?
Comparative fault is a legal rule in Missouri in which each defendant is only liable for his or her percentage of fault (out of 100%) in an accident and that determines the amount of damages they are able to receive.
So if your own negligence contributed to the crash you were involved in, you will not be entitled to all the compensation that you would’ve received if you’d been completely blameless; however, you are entitled to some— it would simply be reduced by your percentage of fault in causing the crash. For example, a jury may find you to be 30 percent at fault in the accident and thereby will reduce your total amount of damages by 30 percent.
Examples of Comparative Fault
Here is a more drawn out example to help you understand. Let’s say you were following behind a car driven by a man talking to his wife on a cellphone. He slams on the brakes because he wasn’t paying close enough attention and following too closely to the car in front of him. You subsequently rear-end him and get injured. Who’s at fault for this accident?
The answer may be both of you have some fault.
In many cases, people believe that if they rear-end someone else, they do not have a leg to stand on in court and that the insurance company sees little else. The truth is, people may still have legal grounds to sue even in rear-endings. For this example, the man was distracted driving and following too closely, therefore, he should be held partially liable for your injuries.
If you bring a lawsuit against the man, then the jury would “compare” both of your faults and assign percentages between 0 and 100. Let’s say the jury decides that you are each 50 percent at fault for your portion of the accident. If you suffered $50,000 in damages (medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.), the judge would reduce that amount by 50 percent which means you are entitled to $25,000 now. Still a substantial sum and worthy of pursuing a claim.
What To Do After a Car Accident Where You May Have Been Partially At Fault
If you were in an accident that you partially caused — but you believe the other person was not blameless either — then get in touch with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
There are a few very important things to keep in mind:
- A car accident is downright scary, and you certainly come out of it under a lot of stress. This could mean that the events are cloudy and you might be misremembering things. It’s human nature to take blame onto yourself but bear in mind that you might not be at fault even if you suspect that you suspect you are at least partially at fault
- Just because the insurance company says that you are at fault doesn’t mean you are. It is a common bullying tactic to point the finger at the victim in an effort to reduce or completely deny a legitimate claim.
- Even if you think you don’t have a leg to stand on — such as in a rear-ending — this is not always the case. Retaining an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible after your crash can help put you on an even playing field when others should be held responsible too. It is crucial to ensure that you receive the settlement you deserve and that your legal rights are protected.
Car Accident Lawyer | The Hayden Law Firm
If you have been injured in a car accident where the fault is in question, do not hesitate to contact us or call St. Louis personal injury lawyer Amanda Hayden at (314) 480-3100 for a free, no-risk consultation