Car accidents happen more often than you probably think; usually when you least expect them. In fact, the US records between 5-6 million accidents every year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 13 car accidents happen every minute meaning an accident can happen to you anywhere and at any time.
Now, if the other motorist is at fault, let’s say, they ram into you at an intersection or traffic stop, then proving liability is a bit straightforward. That is, as long as you have a personal injury lawyer who knows their way around car accident claims and has the track record to prove it.
However, when you are partially to blame for the accident, then you have a whole different matter on your hands.
So, Do You Have a Case?
The answer to your question depends on your state or, more specifically, where the accident occurred. If it happened in Alabama, Maryland, Virginia, or North Carolina, then the answer is no- you cannot file for financial compensation because of what’s known as pure contributory negligence.
This law basically states that if you are partially at fault for your accident, even by just 1%, you cannot get a financial settlement for your personal injuries. To win compensation, your car accident lawyers must prove without a doubt that the other motorist was 100% responsible for the accident. The District of Columbia also follows this rule, except for accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians.
That said, if you had your accident in any of the other states, then yes, there is a chance you might have a case.
Grounds for Settlement if You Were Partially at Fault for Your Accident
Winning compensation for your car accident injuries and damages when you were partially at fault will depend on your extent of responsibility. Most states are guided by the concept of contributory negligence in determining car accident cases.
Basically, if you are more than 50% responsible for the accident, you don’t qualify for financial damages. However, you could win compensation if your responsibility falls below 50%.
That said, whatever you will be awarded will be calculated based on your level of fault. So, say you filed a $100,000 compensation suit, and the court determines that you were 20% at fault. Then, you will only be awarded 80% of the damages, that is, $80,000.
Get a Car Accident Lawyer to Help You Determine Whether You Have a Case
If you have been involved in a car accident that has led to serious injuries and damages, it may not be easy to tell whether you qualify for compensation. In most cases, the events of an accident happen so fast that it’s often hard to know your level of fault without expert knowledge of the law.
That is why it is always best to talk to an auto injury attorney who can then scrutinize the facts of your case and determine your extent of liability if any. Then, you will be better positioned to know if you should file a personal injury claim.