Split Liability in Auto Accidents: 50/50 Claims

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Depending on your state’s law, if you are involved in an auto accident for which you are at least partially responsible, you may or may not be able to recover compensation for your injuries.  While some states maintain the common law defense of contributory negligence, other states have rejected a pure contributory negligence law in favor of a modified negligence law.  Still other states use a comparative negligence theory, which permits an auto accident victim to pursue a financial recovery despite his or her own negligence; however, his or her recovery may be diminished by the percentage of fault that is attributed to him or her for causing the accident.

Reasons this Liability Verdict is Given

A split liability verdict often occurs in cases where the person who is injured in an auto accident was at least partially at fault for the accident.  For instance, if a driver is speeding through an intersection, and is struck by a vehicle who is turning through the intersection without using a proper turn signal, then the driver is at fault to the extent that he or she was speeding.  However, the turning vehicle is likewise at fault, because he or she failed to utilize a turn signal as required by law, and failed to yield to oncoming traffic.  This is a classic case in which a jury would likely attribute at least some degree of fault to the plaintiff, or the speeding driver.

Fighting Liability with Insurance

An insurance company will look to several sources in order to determine liability for an auto accident.  Documentary evidence such as police reports and witness interviews can help an insurance company determine liability for an accident.  Likewise, state traffic laws will govern the liability of persons involved in an auto accident, which can differ from one state to the next.  Liability will in many cases determine insurance coverage for yourself or others for injuries stemming from an auto accident, so establishing liability is fairly important. 

Getting Compensation for Injuries

In order to get compensation for your injuries, you can start by negotiating directly with the insurance company of the liable person(s).  If your efforts are unsuccessful in obtaining the amount of the settlement to which you believe you are entitled, then you may want to consult a personal injury lawyer about your case.  With the help of a lawyer, you may be able to obtain a settlement in a satisfactory amount, or in filing a personal injury lawsuit, if a settlement cannot be reached.

When to Hire an Attorney

All states have laws that govern the time limitations of filing personal injury lawsuits.  Therefore, if you have suffered injuries from an auto accident, it is essential that you consult with an attorney so as to maximize your chances of getting a full recovery from the liable party for your injuries.