Understanding Comparative Fault in Accidents

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On April 13, 2023
Car accident personal injury attorney, personal injury attorney Utah, Utah personal injury attorney

Car accidents can be devastating, resulting in injuries, property damage, and financial burdens. When pursuing a personal injury claim for a car accident, it’s important to understand the concept of comparative fault and how it can impact your compensation. In this post, we will delve into the details of comparative fault, its purpose, how it is determined, and the potential implications it may have on your ability to recover compensation.

Understanding Comparative Fault:

Comparative fault, also known as comparative negligence, is a legal principle used in personal injury cases to allocate responsibility for an accident or injury between multiple parties involved. It recognizes that more than one person can contribute to an accident and apportions fault accordingly. The concept of comparative fault is based on the idea that each party involved in an accident should bear responsibility in proportion to their degree of fault. This approach ensures a fair assessment of liability and allows for a more equitable distribution of damages.

Types of Comparative Fault:

There are two main types of comparative fault: pure comparative fault and modified comparative fault.

  • Pure Comparative Fault: In states that follow pure comparative fault, an injured party can seek compensation for their injuries even if they are deemed mostly at fault for the accident. The damages awarded are reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to the injured party. For example, if the injured party is found 30% at fault and the total damages amount to $100,000, they would be eligible to recover $70,000 (70% of the total damages).
  • Modified Comparative Fault: Modified comparative fault follows two variations: the 50% rule and the 51% rule. Under the 50% rule, an injured party can recover compensation only if their fault is determined to be less than 50%. If they are found 50% or more at fault, they are barred from seeking any compensation. Under the 51% rule, an injured party can seek compensation as long as their fault is determined to be 50% or less. However, their awarded damages are reduced by their percentage of fault.

How comparative Fault is Determined:

Determining comparative fault involves a thorough investigation of the accident. Including, collecting evidence and evaluating the actions of all parties involved. Factors considered include traffic laws, eyewitness testimonies, police reports, expert analysis, and any available surveillance footage or photographs. The allocation of fault is typically determined by the judge or jury based on the evidence presented. Although, the specific process can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the circumstances of the case.

Implications on Compensation:

Comparative fault can have significant implications on the compensation you receive for your injuries. If you are found partially at fault for the accident, your total compensation may be reduced proportionally. For example, if you are determined to be 20% at fault and the total damages amount to $50,000, your recoverable compensation would be reduced to $40,000 (80% of the total damages). If the injured party is found to be at or above the specified threshold (e.g., 50% or more at fault), they may be completely barred from recovering any compensation. It’s important to note that the specific laws regarding comparative fault vary by jurisdiction.

The Role of Insurance companies:

Insurance companies play a crucial role in determining and negotiating comparative fault. They may attempt to assign a higher percentage of fault to you. This minimizes their liability and reduces the compensation they have to pay. It’s important to be cautious when discussing the accident with insurance adjusters. Seek legal representation to protect your interests.

The Importance of Legal Representation:

Comparative fault is complex and can potentially impact your compensation. It is highly advisable to seek legal representation from a skilled personal injury attorney. An attorney experienced in handling car accident cases will thoroughly investigate the accident, gather evidence, assess liability, and advocate for your rights. They will work to establish a fair allocation of fault and fight for maximum compensation on your behalf. Shane Gosdis is experienced with comparative fault. To schedule a consultation call (385) 429-9960 or email s@gosdis.lawyer today.

Understanding the concept of comparative fault is crucial when pursuing a personal injury claim for a car accident. Whether it follows pure comparative fault or modified comparative fault, the allocation of fault can directly impact your compensation. Seeking legal representation from a knowledgeable attorney is essential to navigate the intricacies of comparative fault. Shane Gosdis will ensure your rights are protected throughout the claims process.

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