Determining who is at fault is a major element in automobile accidents. The consequences of being at fault are that the accident could have been prevented by your actions and the cost of damage is your responsibility. The person who acted negligently is at a disadvantage in the claim and once this is determined by the insurance company there is little that can be done.
However, what if both parties are equally at fault? This means the accident was caused by the actions of both parties to some extent, and determining the damage cost for each party can be a more difficult.
Two Parties at Fault
When there is a shared responsibility for the cause of the accident, the damage costs are shared between both parties. This is called comparative negligence, and each state has its own guidelines for how an insurance company can determine this. The insurance company will attempt to determine how much of the damage was caused by each party, and compensation can be based on this percentage. In this case one party can be more at fault than the other party.
In the past if there was an accident between both parties, and the injured party was at fault they would not automatically be eligible for damage compensation. This is what is called pure contributory negligence, but it is not so relevant anymore because newer laws have provided some level of basic coverage.
There is a negotiation stage, because there is no set formula to determine the percentage of fault. Each party can make their case based on the conditions of the accident. At this stage, hiring an extremely talented personal injury or car accident lawyer is make or break.
Legal representation to support you in your claim is critical. There are law firms that specialize in auto accident, and can use the evidence at hand to defend your actions and reduce your percentage of fault. There are endless factors that can be used to support your claim. The weather, cars, environment, behavior and state of mind of the drivers, among other things.
An insurance company will conduct negotiations and hear the evidence that your lawyer has gathered, therefore proving more of the fault was on the second party. Additionally, if you have a good insurance policy it can help protect you, and provide superior coverage.
Once the other party is shown as negligent then their policy can cover your damage costs, medical costs, or lasting effects from the accident. Because there is no set structure or formula you should act quickly and gain the legal support you need to file the claim.