Car accidents can become convoluted messes quickly, even after the wreck has happened. Determining who is at fault for the accident can sometimes be a giant hurdle on the path to getting compensation. If you were partially at fault for the accident, there is still a good chance you can get your bills covered by a claim. It depends on what happened to cause the accident and what state you live in.
Figuring Out Fault
In some cases, fault is very straightforward and easy to identify. In most, it is challenging to pin down, with two parties potentially competing for the lesser blame. Insurance companies don’t improve matters since they will try to pay the least amount possible by proving that the plaintiff is partially guilty. When that happens, it comes down to your state laws to determine if you will get any compensation from the other driver’s insurance.
An All or Nothing Decision
Some states operate under a contributory negligence law, meaning that you cannot have contributed to the accident at all in order to receive compensation. If you reveal to the insurance adjuster that you “didn’t see the other driver,” it won’t matter that the other driver was texting when they hit you — you could be held partially responsible for not paying close enough attention. In a contributory negligence state, you can then only file with your own insurance.
A Split Decision
Other states use comparative negligence, which means that you’ll receive the amount of money compared to how much you are at fault for the crash. If you are 40% guilty and the other driver is 60% guilty, then you’ll receive the majority of your claim and the other driver will receive the lesser. This more evenly distributes fault among the drivers, since it is often not entirely on one person in most situations.
A Healthy Medium
The halfway point between contributory and comparative laws are modified comparative laws. These state that you must be 50% or less responsible for the accident to make a claim against the other driver. If you are over that mark, you cannot ask for compensation from their insurance.State laws can be confusing and overbearing, but you shouldn’t have to worry about paying your bills after an accident because of it. Set yourself up for greater success and make a consultation appointment with a lawyer, like an auto accident lawyer in Trenton, NJ from Davis & Brusca, LLC, to get their professional opinion on your situation.