After a car accident occurs and everyone has regained their composure after the excitement and danger of the incident, several different thoughts will start running through the minds of those involved. They will worry about the expenses caused by the accident and wonder how long they will have to go without a vehicle. They will also wonder who was at fault for the accident since they will be the one responsible for the damages.
In some cases it is clear that one of the drivers is solely responsible for the accident, but in others both drivers share some of the blame, so what happens in those kinds of situations? It depends on various different factors, but one thing is certain and that is you will need a car accident lawyer to help you. They can sort out the legal complications and guide you through the process. You can visit getinjuryanswers.com if you need help after a car accident.
Sharing the Blame
When it is determined that the drivers involved in a car accident each share some of the blame, then the outcome of the case depends partly on the state laws regarding shared blame and how the blame is apportioned. If you were partially at fault for the crash, then whether or not you can receive compensation depends on whether you live in a state that recognizes contributory negligence or comparative negligence.
In states with contributory negligence, anyone who is even slightly at fault for a car accident cannot receive any compensation whatsoever, but only a few states have that system. Most use comparative negligence, which is where a victim of a car accident receives compensation based on their percentage of fault for the accident. So if the insurance company determined that a driver was 40% at fault for the accident, they will receive 60% of the damages they would have received if they were blameless.
There are different types of comparative negligence that vary from state to state. The type described in the previous paragraph is pure comparative negligence where a driver can receive even 1% compensation if it was determined that they were 99% responsible for the accident. Other states have modified comparative negligence, which means that drivers are not allowed to get compensation if their contribution to the accident is above a certain threshold, usually 50% or 51%.
How Fault is Determined
When insurance adjusters are analyzing fault, they look at all the evidence that is available to them. In many cases they will take a look at the police reports of the accident since the police are typically objective when examining a car accident and assigning blame. They may also speak to witnesses on the scene to find out what they saw. If either of the drivers took pictures or video of the accident scene and the damage to each vehicle, then the insurance adjusters will examine them closely. And if there was any surveillance footage of the crash, then they will try to find it.
Once the insurance adjuster has made their decision as to the percentage of fault assigned to each driver, the drivers and their lawyers will either accept the adjuster’s findings or try to dispute them. Naturally, each driver and their attorney will want to have the smallest possible percentage of fault so if they think their assigned percentage is too high, they will argue that it should be lower. If the adjuster and the driver cannot agree on a percentage, then it will be left up to the courts to make that decision.
Contact an Attorney After a Car Accident
You want to get the maximum amount of compensation after a car accident, which means that you need to have the least amount of fault. An auto accident attorney can make that argument on your behalf, which is why you should contact an attorney as quickly as possible after a car accident.