In a car accident, there is normally at least one party at-fault.  While a driver may not mean to collide with your vehicle, it doesn’t change that negligence or carelessness might have led to the accident to begin with. For instance, if a driver doesn’t see you when speeding through a spotlight or if a driver loses control after a negligent move, this would still be his or her fault. Now, what does that mean legally? What if the driver says that you were the one at-fault? Here is what you need to know to protect yourself.

Legal Liability

The country is split up into two different types of states. Some states are no-fault, whereas most states are fault-based. This means that if you are in an accident and one party is at fault, then that party’s insurance will pay the repair costs and other damages like medical bills. In no-fault states, you have to rely on your insurance.

When it comes to liability, there might be a few different types of negligence to consider.

Contributory Negligence

Contributory negligence determines fault based on one party being blameless. In states that use contributory negligence, you can only file a lawsuit if you had no fault in the accident at all. Even if you only were five percent at fault, you would still be unable to sue for damages.

Comparative negligence

Comparative negligence looks at fault closely. You are able to seek an award based on how much fault you had in the accident. For instance, say that a speeding driver strikes you, but you weren’t wearing a seatbelt. If some of your injuries were caused by the lack of seatbelt, then you can only sue for partial payment of your medical expenses.

Modified comparative negligence

In some instances, you may be more than half at fault. This is where modified comparative negligence comes in. Modified comparative negligence is a limiting form of negligence. If you are more than 50 percent responsible for an accident, then you cannot seek a reward.

Once you know how liability works, you may have an easier time defending yourself against accusations of fault. One thing to remember is that if you have a lawyer, then you do not have to fight the other driver on your own. Your lawyer will be able to piece together the evidence that you have to decide fault and to help defend you in court. In fact, your lawyer may be able to prove that it was, in fact, the other driver who was at fault. Set up an appointment with a lawyer, like an Auto Accident Injury Lawyer in Melbourne, Florida, as soon as possible to discuss your options.



Thank you to the experts at Arcadier, Biggie & Wood, PLLC, for their insight into auto accident injury and the law.