Auto Accidents and Shared Blame


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Personal injury cases, be they from an auto accident or otherwise, hinge on one question: who's fault was the accident and what caused the injury? Usually, the answer isn't completely clear-cut. What if you share a degree of fault for the accident? Let's look at how that could affect your case.

Fault in Legal Terms

Fault is a loaded word. It suggests someone was responsible for causing some sort of harm, typically through carelessness or negligence and that person must pay compensation for all injuries and any other losses the resulted from that harm. If an auto accident lawsuit goes to court, the result could be a civil jury awarding a lot of money.

What Happens When Multiple Parties are at Fault?

Sometimes not just one person is to blame for the incident. You could have been negligent as well as someone else. So what happens then?

Contributory and Comparative Fault

When it comes to shared fault, every state has a degree of variation of one of two legal laws: contributory negligence or comparative negligence.

Contributory Negligence

This law says that if you have contributed to your own injury, you can't hold another person responsible for it. If you're one percent at fault for the auto accident and suffer thousands of dollars in damages, you may not collect compensation from the person who is 99 percent at fault. Even if you're found to have been negligent, even a tiny bit, you won't get a thing.

Comparative Negligence

Under comparative negligence, the first assessment will involve the amount of fault belonging to each person involved. Let's say a driver ran a red light and another turned left too soon, just before the auto accident. Both parties were acting negligently and each contributed to the accident. The judge or jury in that case would need to determine how much fault each person contributed. In such instances, under comparative negligence, each party may collect damages equal to how much fault (percentage) belongs to the other party. So if the left turn driver suffered $100,000 in damages, he or she can recover $60,000 from the other driver.

Modified Comparative Fault vs. Pure Comparative Fault

Some states tend to adhere to a law known as pure comparative negligence while others have a general limit set in place in terms of to how much fault an injured person can have and still collect from the other party at fault. This dividing line is known as "modified comparative fault". In states where this rule is followed, an injured person can collect compensation from the other parties at fault, provided that the plaintiff was less than 50 percent responsible for the auto accident that resulted in the injuries. Can You Claim For Your Injuries? If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident and aren't sure if you can claim compensation or not, the lawyers at Clore Law can help determine who is at fault and if you are entitled to claim a percentage. Get in touch today if you need legal advice by calling 843.722.8070.

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Clore Law Group welcomes your questions about any issues concerning a serious personal injury, car accident, medical malpractice, nursing home neglect, or business tort. If you have a viable claim, we’ll explain the legal process. Since consultations are always free, there’s no cost in learning your legal options.