Can I Pursue Legal Action If I’m Partially Responsible for the Car Accident?
If you’re involved in a car accident, deciding who is at fault can be complicated. While sometimes the cause of an accident is obvious. Other times it may be hard to tell what actually happened or someone may refuse to admit that they caused or contributed to the accident. Perhaps your actions also played a part in the incident? If this is the case, will you be able to recover damages if you are injured in the accident? If you are partially responsible for an accident, what you are entitled to recover will usually depend on the state in which the accident occurred and how much you actually contributed to the accident.
In most states, you would be entitled to some damages even if you are 49% at fault for the crash. However, in other states, any contributory negligence would completely bar recovery. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, contact an experienced car accident lawyer to discuss your case, even if you think you might be partially at fault. By consulting with a lawyer, you can get a better idea as to whether you can recover any damages.
Theories of Comparative Negligence
When it comes to personal injury claims, some states split the responsibility for an accident by using comparative negligence theories. What this means is that, depending on the state, your damages may be reduced by the percentage of fault that is attributable to you. For instance, if you have damages worth $100,000 and it is found that your own negligence contributed to the crash by twenty percent and the other motorist contributed eighty percent, your damages would be reduced by twenty percent. Thus, you would only be able to recover $80,000. On the other hand, if you are eighty percent at fault, you could only recover $20,000.
This example is the case when it comes to states that follow a “pure” theory of comparative fault. Thirteen states, including Arizona and New Mexico, recognize the pure comparative fault rule, which allows an injured individual to recover even if they are ninety-nine percent at fault.
Other states follow different theories of contributory negligence. Only four states and the District of Columbia recognize what’s called pure contributory negligence. Under this theory, injured individuals cannot collect damages even if they are only one percent at fault for an accident.
The majority of states follow the modified comparative fault rule, though there are two competing theories when it comes to this rule.
Twelve states, including Colorado, follow the fifty percent bar rule which means that a damaged individual will not recover if their fault is fifty percent or more. However, if the individual is forty-nine percent at fault or less, they can still recover, though the recovery will be reduced by the percentage of fault.
Twenty-one states, including Texas, follow the fifty-one percent bar rule where a damaged party cannot recover if they are fifty-one percent or more at fault. This means that if they are fifty percent at fault or less, they can still recover, but the recovery would also be reduced by the degree of fault. In other words, you might recover $50,000 if you are fifty percent negligent, but if you are fifty-one percent at fault, you will recover nothing.
Experienced Car Accident Lawyers
If you have questions regarding your potential injury claim, we have answers. Call Zinda Law Group today at 800-863-5312 to get started with a free attorney consultation. We look forward to helping you seek the justice and compensation you deserve.