You’ve been in an accident. If you weren’t at fault, then the other driver’s insurance should pay your damages. When you are determined to be partially at fault for the accident, it gets a little murky as to who is responsible and what you’ll get paid by the other driver’s insurance. It depends on many factors, your insurance, fault and the laws where you live. Let’s look at the possibilities.
Fault Vs. No-Fault States
Most states are fault states, which means that the person who caused the accident is financially responsible for the damages. More accurately, the driver’s insurance will have to pay for vehicle damage, medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. In a no-fault state, vehicle owners carry personal injury protection insurance, AKA PIP. After an accident, each driver files their own medical bills with their PIP, regardless of fault. Generally speaking, in a no-fault state, you can’t sue the other driver for economic losses and medical bills except under certain circumstances.
One thing to note is that the at-fault driver is still liable for damages to property, regardless of fault or no-fault state. PIP doesn’t cover auto damage. The driver that is at-fault for the accident will be responsible for fixing your vehicle or paying for the value of the car.
What If You’re Partly to Blame?
If you live in a fault state and you’re partly responsible for the accident, you may still have a claim against the other driver. The only difference is that you may not get the full settlement. Your settlement would be reduced by the percentage of your fault. For example, it’s determined that you are 20% responsible for an accident. Your damages are $50,000 after medical bills, lost wages and property damage. The insurance company agrees to settle for $50,000, but you would only get $40,000. (20% of $50,000 is $10,000, which is subtracted from the settlement.)
In some states, there are laws that prevent you from getting any settlement if you were partially at fault. Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia follow this rule, called pure contributory negligence.
Should You Pursue a Claim?
The laws that govern fault and negligence are complex. It’s advisable to talk to a lawyer about your situation to fully understand your rights and responsibilities under the guidelines of the state where the accident occurred. Make an appointment with a personal injury attorney , like from Top Law Firms who can help you take the best steps to receive compensation.