What if Both Parties Are Partially At Fault in a Car Accident?
By Chris Dixon
Fault is not always clear in a car accident. Sometimes one driver is immediately found at fault for an accident, while other times both parties are found to be partially at fault. If both drivers are found to be partially at fault in an accident, the percentage of fault could be 50/50, 70/30, or a number of other distributions of fault. There are many factors that are involved in deciding fault so it can be a confusing process to deal with. If you are feeling confused after being involved in a car accident, it could be a good idea to consult with a car accident lawyer and discuss your car accident case.
How is Fault Decided in a Car Accident?
The process of deciding fault in a car accident varies from state to state. Some states follow a no fault rule which doesn’t allow the at-fault driver to be sued for damages, while other state’s follow the at-fault rule where damages can be claimed from the other party. In at-fault states, if it isn’t clear which driver is at-fault in an accident, both drivers can be found at fault. The percentage of fault that both drivers are at fault for is decided by examining the evidence, getting statements from both parties involved in the accident, speaking with witnesses and deciding how much of a part both parties had in the car accident occurring. Once a percentage is decided for both parties, in at-fault states that follow modified comparative negligence, if that number is over 50% the only party that can recover damages is the less at-fault party, but in others both parties can recover damages.
In states where both parties in a car accident can recover damages, the amount of money that each party receives is determined by the percentage they are at fault. For example, in an accident with $50,000 in damages, if one party is 20% at fault and the other driver is 80% at fault, the party who is 20% at fault for the accident would get 80% of that amount and the other driver would get 20% of it. If you have been involved in a car accident that you are partially at fault for, but do not agree with the percentage of fault that was assigned to your actions, it’s important to talk to a car accident lawyer. Your lawyer will analyze your case and help you determine if it is worth it for you to dispute it or not.
Is Fault for a Car Accident Always Equal?
There are some car accident cases in at-fault states where fault is equally split between the two parties that are involved. Damages are claimed from the other party’s insurance company, which results in an increased insurance rate for both drivers instead of just one driver. If fault is not equally split between both driver’s 50/50, then the insurance company will determine a percentage of fault for each driver involved in the accident. In some states, if a driver is found to be over 50% at fault for an accident, they’re ineligible to recover damages. In other states, both parties that are partially at fault in the accident can recover damages. If you are unsure whether you’re able to recover damages for an accident in your state, speak with your lawyer to learn more about your state’s traffic laws and if they think you have a valid car accident claim.
Can Both Parties in an Accident Collect Damages?
It is possible for both parties in a car accident to collect damages and recoveries. The accident must have happened in an at-fault state, and depending on state laws, one driver must not be more than 50% at-fault for an accident. The amount in damages that both parties can recover from the accident depends on how much they’re at-fault for the accident. Insurance companies use a formula to calculate the exact amount in compensation each driver should receive. While the formula differs from one insurance company to the next, the base of it is the same. The insurance company will add up the damages from the accident, use a multiplier from 1-4, and calculate a ballpark figure of the total cost of the accident. From here, the insurance company and parties involved can negotiate and adjust this amount until they’re satisfied with it. Once a total amount is calculated, it can be divided up to both parties in the accident in accordance with state laws.
Speak with an Attorney About Your Car Accident Case
Car accident cases can be complex and often require legal knowledge to deal with. Even if you think that the car accident you’re involved in isn’t serious, it is important to call your car accident lawyer as soon as possible to make sure that you’re protected during this time. Insurance companies are focused on getting both drivers to settle for the lowest amount possible, so one of their tactics is to get an immediate statement right after the accident. It is important to keep quiet with the insurance company, call your car accident lawyer and let them deal with the insurance company for you.
Speaking with a lawyer not only allows you to avoid dealing with the insurance company yourself, but it increases your case’s chance of recovering the maximum amount in damages. Keep in mind, not every case is eligible to recover damages from a car accident. If your case is eligible to recover damages though, having an experienced car accident lawyer by your side ensures that you’ll receive the highest amount of compensation possible. If you’re ready to speak with a lawyer about your accident where both parties are at-fault, contact the Dixon Injury Firm today to see how we can help you with your case.