Seeking Damages When You’re at Fault in an Accident

Personal Injury Lawyer

Circumstances in auto accidents are often not as cut and dry as we see on TV. Perhaps the other driver broke the law when they failed to yield, but you weren’t supposed to be in the lane to begin with. There are countless scenarios in which both drivers could be at fault, though one may be more to blame than the other. Whether you can still sue the other driver to recover automotive and medical costs depends a lot on where you live. Learn more about your options and you’ll be much more prepared for your next fender bender.

What is contributory negligence?

Whether you can still sue the other driver will vary based on the state where the incident took place. Contributory negligence or comparative negligence are just a few of the terms that states use to address this type of situation. They refer to times when the driver may have been at least partially at fault for the other person hitting them. Fortunately, many states don’t abide by this type of law. A couple that do include:

  • Virginia
  • Colorado
  • Alabama
  • Maryland
  • North Carolina

If you drive a lot or in accident-prone areas, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with your state’s laws.

How does contributory negligence work?

If you have an accident in a state that doesn’t abide by this type of law, you are worry-free. In that circumstance, you can file your case and it will be up to a court to determine who owes what to who. But if you are in a contributory negligence state, a judge may have to determine:

  • What amount of negligence each driver contributed
  • How much of a settlement you would deserve had you shown no negligence

This can get tricky. Some states require that you be at least 50 percent at fault, while in states like Virginia, being deemed just 1 percent at fault can prevent you from getting damages.

How can I win?

One of the most important things your accident attorney can do is gather evidence and facts. A good attorney will want to get all the details surrounding the accident, as well as police reports and any other pertinent documents. All of this can help them show that you were at minimal fault and potentially help you get a settlement. Reach out to experienced accident or personal injury attorneys near you to learn more about your state’s laws and what you can do if the accident was partly your fault.

Source: Personal Injury Lawyer Fort Lauderdale, FL, Needle & Ellenberg, P.A.

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