What if I Am Partly to Blame for My Car Accident?

By April 21, 2023May 1st, 2023Car Accidents

You could still recover compensation in a car accident case even if you are partly to blame for the accident. Each state has unique laws for this situation, so where your accident occurred will likely matter.

If you worry you contributed to your car accident:

  • Avoid admitting fault or discussing the cause of your crash with the at-fault party or any witnesses
  • Contact a car accident lawyer may benefit you, as they know how to handle cases like yours
  • Start collecting bills, receipts, and other documentation of your expenses and losses from the beginning of your case

Protect Your Rights From the Start of Your Car Accident Case

Experience Lawyer for Car Lawyer

Protecting your right to pursue and recover fair compensation after a crash is important. This is why law firms may recommend that you avoid admitting fault after a crash. Whether it is the police, witnesses, the other driver, or your insurer, you should never admit fault or discuss how you might be partly to blame for a crash.

Your best option is to avoid discussing the cause of the collision. You can offer the basic facts of where and when it occurred without going into details about who you believe caused the crash. Once you provide police with the basic details of the accident, you can avoid providing any more information until you’ve spoken to a car accident lawyer.

Understanding the Ways States Handle Shared Fault

Each state has unique laws related to shared fault in a traffic accident. This could greatly affect the outcome of your case, including barring you from financial recovery if you contributed to causing your crash in some states. Your case will follow the laws in the state where your crash occurred. Understanding these laws and how they apply in your state is vital if evidence shows you contributed to causing your injury accident.

Your state’s shared fault laws could prevent you from recovering compensation, limit the money you receive, or may not have a great impact on your case at all. There are generally three different ways states can deal with shared fault in a crash:

Contributory Negligence States Do Not Allow Recovery for Shared Fault

States that follow contributory negligence laws bar financial recovery for anyone who contributed to causing a collision. If the driver was even one percent at-fault in a crash, they cannot recover compensation in these states. These laws make it vital to build a strong case against the other driver showing they acted carelessly or recklessly and were fully at fault in the accident.

Only four states and the District of Columbia follow contributory negligence laws. If you live in a comparative negligence state, you may find it difficult to recover compensation after a car crash.

Even when there is little evidence to support shared fault, insurers and liable parties often claim the victim contributed to causing the crash in some way. This is one way insurance carriers in these states try to save money and reduce the compensation they must pay because of accidents caused by their policyholders.

Anyone Involved in the Crash Has an Option for Recovery in Pure Comparative Negligence States

Some states allow anyone involved in a collision to pursue compensation, regardless of who is at fault. Even if you caused the accident, you would still have options for pursuing financial recovery. Pure comparative negligence laws mean even those who carry more fault in an accident can recover money from those who are only partially to blame.

More than a dozen states use pure comparative negligence laws. This can lead to situations where there are several claims or lawsuits related to the same collision, with each party seeking their own compensation based on the other driver’s percentage of fault.

Partial Recovery for the Crash Victim in Modified Comparative Negligence States

Many states have laws that allow crash victims to pursue compensation in an insurance claim or lawsuit as long as they are not more than 50 percent at fault. This allows victims to recover reduced compensation for their injuries and damages. This is the most common type of shared fault rule, known as modified comparative negligence.

Some states have different clauses as a part of their modified comparative negligence laws. These clauses alter how much compensation a car accident survivor can recover if they are partially responsible for causing the accident.

One way to learn about the laws in your state is to discuss your options with a car accident attorney. They will be familiar with these laws and provide you with the information you need to understand your next steps. A personal injury law firm could help you navigate the claims process and seek fair compensation based on the circumstances of your crash case.

How Shared Fault Affects Your Payout

Regardless of how your state handles shared fault in car accident cases, a case where you are partly to blame affects your payout. In most states, you can still recover damages if you contributed to causing the accident, but the amount of compensation you receive might be reduced.

A car accident attorney could explain more about how fault may affect your final financial award.

Understand that:

  • You can still recover compensation based on your car accident case in most states
  • Any blame assigned to you will likely reduce your payout

These factors make it vital to minimize the amount of blame assigned to you when possible. You also want to document as many damages in your case as you can, ensuring you recover enough money to pay for your future medical care and other expenses.

A car accident attorney will know how to handle this as a part of building your case and pursuing justice on your behalf. They will know how to fight for fair compensation based on the details of the case.

You Might Want To Hire a Car Accident Lawyer if You Are Partly To Blame for the Accident

You could contact a local car accident lawyer and request a free consultation with their team after your collision. Discuss your crash, injuries, and concerns with them. They can assess your case, explain how they have handled similar cases, determine what they can do to help you, and outline your next steps.

Your attorney can help you recover compensation by:

  • Showing the other driver caused the crash
  • Showing you are not at fault
  • Pursuing a case based on shared fault, depending on the applicable state laws

These cases are often challenging to navigate and win. You may want a knowledgeable, skilled attorney on your side managing the process and developing a compelling case to support your financial recovery. It is difficult enough to fight for compensation on your own in a fairly straightforward crash claim. Things become more difficult when the insurer believes you are partly to blame for the crash.

You can feel confident when you speak with a law firm that what you say will remain confidential. The law firm cannot share anything you discuss with them with any other party, so if you are partly to blame for the accident, you can share this information with a lawyer. Discussing your case with a car accident lawyer cannot jeopardize your legal right to pursue compensation.

How a Car Accident Attorney Can Help You With Your Case

Most crash victims’ first interactions with a law firm are during their initial consultation. This is a free case assessment offered by many car accident lawyers. During this conversation, the team member can learn as much as possible about the case and assess the likelihood that the firm can recover fair compensation for them.

If you worry that you are partly to blame for your car accident, having an attorney on your side is one option for protecting your rights, seeking fair compensation, and recovering damages in your case. From their first day working on your case, the law firm can protect your right to pursue compensation.

They can:

  • Manage all communication with the insurer, preventing you from admitting fault
  • Gather evidence to support a case against the other driver
  • Pursue compensation on your behalf
  • Handle all aspects of your insurance claim and/or lawsuit

Regardless of why you believe you might be partially to blame for your crash, your attorney can take action to help reduce the effects this has on your case outcome and financial recovery. If the insurance company or liable party is blaming you, talk to your legal team about creating a case against the at-fault driver.

Your Attorney Can Collect Evidence for You

If you do not believe you are to blame for your accident, your lawyer could help you collect evidence that proves the other party is the reason for the accident and your injuries.

Evidence used to confirm what happened could include:

  • The accident report filed by law enforcement officers
  • Eyewitness statements
  • Video of the collision
  • Photographs from the scene
  • Accident scene survey
  • Accident reconstruction
  • Expert interviews
  • Relevant medical records
  • Documentation of your damages, such as receipts, bills, and medical records

Your lawyer can also navigate the claims process or sue the at-fault party and seek the compensation you deserve based on the expenses and losses you suffered. They handle all aspects of these cases from start to finish. This allows you to focus on your treatment and healing.

Building a Case and Seeking Compensation After a Car Accident

When there are questions of fault and liability in a car accident case, it makes the evidence to support negligence even more important. If the insurer or another party tries to blame you for the crash, you must have strong evidence to show that the other driver was at fault.

Your evidence must show:

  • They violated a traffic law or otherwise acted carelessly
  • This was the proximate cause of the collision
  • You suffered significant financial, physical, and psychological harm

Even if there is evidence to show you contributed to the collision, it is vital to show how the other party’s actions were the primary cause. For example, imagine a driver turning left on green in front of you. You were traveling straight through the intersection. Their failure to yield caused a T-bone collision in the intersection.

However, the police report and witness statements show you were speeding. You might share a small portion of fault in this crash. In this scenario, you might be partly to blame for the accident. Your options for financial recovery would depend on the state you live in.

You could still seek compensation for a portion of your injuries and damages as long as you were not in one of the four states that recognize contributory negligence laws. You can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s auto liability insurance carrier or sue them in court to recover the payout you deserve.

Buckhead Law Saxton Injury & Accident Lawyers, P.C. Logo - Atlanta, GA

You can work with a car accident lawyer to understand your case and fight for the compensation you need when there are questions of fault. Most firms provide a free initial consultation with their team. A knowledgeable firm representative can review your crash and explain your legal options.

Your lawyer might be able to help clear your name, seek compensation despite shared fault, or take other steps to recover compensation for you. If you were hurt in a crash and wonder how you can pursue money for your damages, contact a personal injury law firm in Atlanta.

Leave a Reply