What Happens If Both Parties Were at Fault in an Auto Accident?
Did you know that two parties could become at fault in one auto accident?
It occurs when both drivers have committed negligent actions causing the car crash. For example, an accident happened because a driver made an illegal u-turn while the other was drunk.
Now, you probably wonder who can take legal action and claim compensation if both drivers were at fault.
So, read on and understand more about car accidents with shared negligence.
How Car Accidents with Shared Faults Happen
Two drivers share negligence in an auto accident if both have contributed to the collision. It means the drivers could have avoided the car crash if one of them didn’t commit negligent actions.
For example, suppose you went into the wrong lane because you were texting while driving and an overspeeding vehicle hit you. While the overspeeding driver crashed into your car, you also contributed to the accident as you went into the wrong lane.
In such cases, the court will distribute the liability among the involved parties. For instance, you may receive 30% fault while the other driver gets 70%, depending on your contribution to the accident.
How the Court Handles Shared Negligence in a Car Crash
Each state uses different principles when handling auto accidents with shared negligence. While they all consider the possibility of multiple drivers contributing to a crash, they significantly differ when determining who can claim compensation.
Here are the principles a court may use when awarding compensation:
1. Comparative Negligence
This principle allows both parties to claim compensation depending on their contribution to the accident. Each driver will only receive a portion of their total accident-related losses.
Suppose the court proves you were 20% at fault and the other driver was 80%. It means you may claim 80% of your total losses from the other party, while they may claim 20% of their total losses from you.
Following the example, suppose you spent $10,000 on medical treatment and car repair while the other party spent $9,000. It means you may claim $8,000 from them while they may claim $1,800 from you.
California courts use the comparative negligence principle when handling auto accidents. Consulting with a Burbank auto accident attorney is thus crucial to reduce your fault percentage and optimize your compensation amount.
2. Contributory Negligence
In a contributory negligence state, you cannot claim compensation if you share negligence, regardless of how small, in a car crash.
For example, a drunk driver rear-ended your car, but the police discovered that you didn’t signal your lights before turning. The police records may prevent you from filing a claim against the drunk driver as you contributed to the accident.
3. Modified Comparative Fault
This principle allows a party to claim compensation if they only share less than 50% negligence in a car crash. Parties with 50% fault or more cannot claim benefits and must pay the other party’s compensation.
However, the plaintiff’s share of negligence will reduce the compensation they will receive.
Suppose you have total accident-related losses of $20,000 and are 30% at fault. In this case, the other party only owes you $14,000 for compensation.
Hire an Auto Accident Lawyer in Burbank to Reduce Fault and Optimize Compensation
Accidents with shared negligence are complex cases as both parties want to reduce their fault to claim higher compensation. It’s thus vital to carefully plan your legal steps in this situation to prove you have a lesser contribution to the car crash.
Hiring a Burbank auto accident attorney will help you face complex cases and optimize your benefits claim.