Shared Fault in a Car Accident
Being in a car accident is often a confusing experience, and you may come away wondering what just happened. This is especially true if it happened without warning. Once you pick up the pieces and have received medical attention, you might replay the accident in your mind. In the aftermath, it can be difficult to separate what you remember from what actually happened. You may ask yourself if you are partially to blame for the accident. If you are, does that mean you are legally responsible, too?
What Does It Mean to Be at Fault?
In the state of Louisiana, a car accident victim must believe that someone else was at fault before they can file a claim for personal injury. Like most other states, Louisiana is an at-fault state, which is also called a “tort” state. This means that each responsible party may share responsibility for causing the crash. The insurance companies and/or the court will need to determine each party’s share of fault. This determination will affect the amount of compensation the injured party may receive- Veron Bice, LLC is here to help.
Every driver on the road has a legal obligation toward all the other people on the road. This obligation is called a “duty of care” and means that each driver is responsible for acting in a certain way. Specifically, each driver must obey the law and must safely operate their motor vehicle. When a driver fails to uphold their duty of care, it’s referred to as a breach of the duty of care.
Can an Accident Be More Than One Person’s Fault?
Breach of the duty of care is also called negligence. This means that the person did something that caused harm to another person, either through their actions or by failing to perform an action. The legal system in Louisiana uses a “pure comparative negligence” system. This means that in a case involving more than one responsible party, the fault for the accident may be shared.
If more than one person is at fault, then each person can only recover the percentage of their accident-related losses that were due to the other person’s fault. For example, if one person is 30 percent responsible for the accident, then they can only recover up to 70 percent of their total losses.
Each driver is covered by their own insurance policy for any losses they may cause. Once the determination of fault is made, then each insurance company should pay up to the limits of the insurance policy for their client’s portion of the liability. If a victim of the accident believes that the amount offered by the insurance company is unfair and settlement negotiations have stalled, they may file a lawsuit. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to determine whether a settlement amount is fair or too low. There are many potential components of monetary compensation, and they should all be evaluated to make sure you receive the full amount to which you may be entitled.
What Affects Who Is At Fault?
All accidents are unique, and there are many considerations involved. An experienced attorney will gather all relevant documentation, such as police reports, photos from the scene, any dashcam videos, and witness statements.
Once these are analyzed, the attorney will use the evidence to show who was at fault in the accident. While you may believe that you are partially at fault, or even that most of the fault is yours, this is not for you to decide. Who is at fault cannot be determined until the documentation is compiled and evaluated by your legal team. Factors that can affect the determination of fault include:
- Distracted driving
- Reckless driving
- Failing to safely maintain a vehicle, such as driving with bald tires
- Failing to obey traffic signs or lights
- Driving while intoxicated or under the influence
In addition to determining who is at fault, your legal team will also need to prove that your injury was caused by the other person’s negligence. For even more answers to your accident questions, contact us today.
Contact Veron Bice, LLC Today
If you have been injured in a car accident that was at least partially not your fault, you may be entitled to compensation. You should not have to pay for an injury that you did not cause. Even if you believe that you may share the fault for the crash with another individual, you can still pursue monetary compensation.
Contact us today online, or at 337-310-1600 to speak with a member of the Veron Bice, LLC Lake Charles car accident lawyers team about your options. You can also complete an intake form to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys. We are ready to discuss your accident and how we can begin building the strongest case possible for you. Let us guide you through this painful and difficult time so that you can focus on your recovery.