Charlotte, NC Car Accident Lawyer
Understanding the legal concept behind comparative fault is critical following a car accident. This doctrine can significantly impact the outcome of your car accident case, influencing liability and the allocation of damages. Our friends at Schehr Law, PLLC, and an experienced car accident lawyer can attest to the importance of comprehending comparative fault in car accident cases. In this guide, we’ll delve into the basics of comparative fault, shedding light on how it operates and its significance in car accident claims.
What Is Comparative Fault?
Comparative fault, also known as comparative negligence, is a legal principle used in personal injury cases, including car accidents. Comparative fault tries to determine the level of fault that each party is liable for. Under comparative fault, the court evaluates the actions of all parties and assigns a percentage of fault to each.
How Does Comparative Fault Work?
In a comparative fault system, each party’s degree of fault is expressed as a percentage. These percentages are then used to allocate liability and damages. Let’s explore some of the key points.
1. Pure Comparative Fault:
Certain states, like North Carolina, follow a pure comparative fault system. In this system, even if you are found to be primarily at fault for an accident, you may still recover damages. However, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For instance, if you are found 30% at fault for an accident and your damages amount to $10,000, you would receive $7,000 (70% of $10,000).
2. Modified Comparative Fault:
Some states follow a comparative fault system instead. Under this approach, you can only recover damages if your degree of fault falls below a certain threshold, typically 50% or 51%. If you are found more than 50% (or 51%, depending on the state) at fault, you cannot collect any damages.
Why Is Comparative Fault Important In Car Accident Cases?
Understanding comparative fault can help for the following reasons:
1. Impact On Liability:
By understanding each party’s degree of fault, your attorney can better help determine liability. It helps establish whether one party is entirely responsible or if multiple parties share the blame for the accident.
2. Allocation Of Damages:
Comparative fault can also help determine how compensation can be distributed across the different parties. It ensures that each party bears responsibility for their share of the accident’s consequences.
3. Role In Settlement Negotiations:
When negotiating with insurance companies or pursuing legal action, knowledge of comparative fault can influence settlement offers. Insurance adjusters may attempt to minimize payouts based on the degree of fault attributed to them. Experienced attorneys can help represent you and protect your legal rights.
4. Legal Strategy:
Understanding the ins and outs of comparative fault can also help with creating a legal strategy. Lawyers consider the impact of fault allocation when advising clients on the best course of action.
5. Evidence And Documentation:
Evidence and documentation is generally necessary to establish comparative fault. Gathering witness statements, photos, accident reports, and other relevant information is crucial to support your position in a car accident case.
Navigating comparative fault in car accident cases requires a thorough understanding of the legal principles involved. Having an attorney on your side can help ensure you’re able to navigate a case properly.