Many accident situations present a clear picture of fault. It's pretty obvious, for example, when you get rear-ended while stopped at a red light who was at fault. Unfortunately, fault can be shared by the other driver in some cases and that can really complicate matters. Read on to find out about comparative fault in auto accidents.
This type of shared fault is all about the percentages. On busy roads, drivers have numerous opportunities to make mistakes. Many accidents are not just the result of one careless driver but two or more. It's easy to see how that can happen and here's an example: A driver pulled onto a roadway and hit a car that had the right of way. Normally, you would assume the car traveling on the main road was not at fault. When you consider, however, that the accident happened at night that the driver had non-working headlights things look different.
Percentages of Fault
In this case, the driver with faulty equipment might be 90% at fault and the other driver only 10%. The exact percentage will vary depending on how much street lighting there was, the speed of the drivers, and more. The driver that is judged to be a greater percentage at fault will be responsible for paying more of the damages. The exact amount of the split affects the settlement in the following way: The driver who had no headlights would have to pay 90% of the damages incurred by the other driver. The other driver would then pay 10% of the damages the no-headlight driver incurred. With a great deal of money at stake, it's easy to see why these types of accidents often end up in court rather than settling.
How is Fault Determined?
When one driver is pointing their finger at the other and claiming they were not at fault, an investigation must be performed. You should realize, however, that the opinion of the insurance investigation is not necessarily the final word. If you just accept a finding that you know is incorrect, you could end up losing thousands of dollars in financial compensation that you need and deserve. When you are not satisfied with the insurance finding, speak to a personal injury attorney. Your attorney will review the evidence and may consult with experts about the accident when determining whether or not to pursue a case against the other driver. Accident video footage, eye-witnesses testimony, vehicle "black boxes", and more will help you to prove that you were not at fault or to dispute the percentage of fault in the accident.
Speak to an auto accident attorney to learn more.