Each state has different insurance and liability rules that apply after a car accident. One of these deals with how multiple defendants affect a car accident claim. Another key issue pertains to how car accident claims are handled in no-fault states.
Figuring out who is responsible for a car accident
Your personal injury lawyer will tell you that most states will hold the at-fault driver legally responsible for any and all financial damage that you have sustained because of your car accident. You’ll receive a check from the defendant’s insurance company, in most instances.
Some states, however, are no-fault states, and they follow a slightly different set of rules.There is no doubt that differences in state car accident claim rules can and do play a large role in determining who caused the accident. It’s sometimes easy to figure out who the defendant is. In other cases, though, as any personal injury lawyer would tell you, establishing fault is anything but clear-cut and obvious.
If you want to prove that the other driver was at-fault, you’ll have to establish that he or she was acting negligently at the time of the accident. This generally means you’ll have to prove that one or more of the following elements were present:
● The defendant breached his or her legal duty towards you – anyone who drives on the road must do so with a duty of care towards anyone else who shares the road with him or her. This means that the driver must drive defensively.
If the driver fails to do this, then you can claim that he or she breached his or her duty of care towards you. You compare the driver’s actions to those of a normal and reasonable person in his or her situation to determine if the legal duty was breached.
● The breach of duty caused your injuries – well, your personal injury lawyer in London will tell you that you don’t have a case if you can’t prove that the defendant’s breach of care caused your injuries.
Shared Fault In Car Accident Cases
Now, remember that the outcome of your personal injury claim will be totally different if you were even 1% responsible for your car accident. It tends to reduce your total settlement amount. In some cases, depending on your state’s laws, it can also mean that you will get nothing as a settlement.
Pure comparative fault states
You can still collect some settlement money if you live in a pure comparative fault state and you were partially responsible for your car accident. Keep in mind that your total settlement amount will be reduced by the percentage in which you were held responsible for your accident.
Modified comparative fault states
If you live in one of these states, you can get a settlement, but only if you were less than 50% at fault for your accident. If you are deemed to be more than 50% at fault, you will get nothing.
Contributory negligence states
You can’t collect a settlement at all if you were even 1% at fault for your car accident.
Car accidents in ‘no-fault’ states
Some states will allow you to choose between no-fault and traditional liability coverage when you’re buying car insurance. You should choose no-fault. If you do, you’ll be guaranteed a full settlement, even if you were partially responsible for your car accident. All you’ll have to do is approach your own insurance company for the payout.
Note that you’ll be able to sue the other driver only if certain thresholds that pertain to the severity of your injuries and the dollar amount of medical treatment that you incurred are met.
As you can see, personal injury law surrounding car accidents is complex. That’s why you need to hire a good personal injury lawyer. Doing so can and will ensure that you get a good settlement, even if you were partially at fault.