You can be the safest driver in the world and still end up in an accident due to the actions of another driver. In these instances, one driver is completely at fault for the accident. However, in many situations, both parties share some responsibility for the accident. When assigning blame for an accident, two drivers may be given a comparative fault percentage based on their role in the accident. In today’s blog, we explain how comparative fault is determined and how it can affect your payout if you are pursuing damages against another party after a car accident.
Comparative Fault In Minnesota
Many states have some form of comparative fault law on the books, and the term is oftentimes used synonymously with comparative negligence or contributory negligence. Whatever term is used, it is designed to help establish your onus in the accident. You can still file an injury claim in a car accident that you were partly to blame for, so long as you are not deemed more than 50 percent responsible for the accident. If you bear the majority of the blame, you won’t be able to take the other driver to court for your injuries or damages.
However, if you are deemed to play a minor role in an accident, you may have a comparative fault rating assigned to your case. For example, let’s say you were involved in an accident with a driver who was texting at the time of the crash. Witness statements and accident reconstruction efforts found that you were speeding 18 miles over the speed limit at the time of the crash. You may be deemed 20 percent at fault for the accident.
But how does this rating affect your total payout? It’s pretty simple. Your total payout is reduced by the percentage of your fault rating. So if you would have been entitled to $10,000 in damages and medical expenses, but you have a 20 percent fault rating, you’ll be able to collect 80 percent of the original amount, or $8,000.
Determining And Reducing Fault After A Car Accident
As you might imagine, oftentimes car accident claims try to paint the other party at a greater fault to reduce or eliminate one side’s liability. The other driver may say one thing, but if their lawyer tries to suggest you were at fault for causing the accident, your award amount can be significantly reduced. You’ll want a lawyer in your corner to ensure your fault rating is accurate.
When establishing comparative fault after a car accident, your lawyer will look at a number of factors to strengthen your case, including:
- Your statement
- Witness statements
- Police reports
- Photographs of the accident scene
- Video recordings
- Toxicology reports
- Cell phone data
- GPS information
- Statements from accident reconstruction experts
Your lawyer will sift through all of this information, put forth a strong case and ensure that your liability is minimized so that you can get the full amount you’re entitled to receive following an automobile accident. Don’t let an insurance company take advantage of your inexperience with the injury compensation system. Let Dean and the team at Margolis Law Firm go to bat for you and fight back against their insurance company.
For more information, or for help with your car accident injury claim, reach out to the Margolis Law Firm today at (952) 230-2700.
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