The aftermath of a car accident is a confusing scene. You are trying to determine not only what damage has been done to your vehicle, but also what injuries you and your passengers may have sustained. If you live in one of the 39 “at-fault” states, you also need help determining who is the responsible party. It can be hard to know what to do because the laws differ from state to state.
There are a dozen no-fault states where you must first contact your own insurance. In the District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Utah, injured parties must have serious injuries in order to sue the negligent driver for a settlement. . .
The only other way a car accident lawsuit can occur is if the medical bills and repair costs reach a certain monetary threshold. This threshold varies between states.
in failure states
All other states require the negligent driver to assume financial responsibility. However, if you think the other driver is at fault, it’s your job to prove that’s the case. In several cases, it is obvious who is at fault. For example, the other driver might have run a red light or hit you from behind because he wasn’t looking.
However, it is not always easy to determine who caused the car accident. If you or a passenger has been injured, there are three things you need to prove.
The first is whether there was a legal obligation. In the case of motor vehicles, that legal obligation is that you operate your car with a reasonable level of care. You must obey the traffic rules and do your best to pay attention to the drivers around you.
Then you must prove that legal obligation was neglected or breached. In other words, you must prove that the other driver was negligent in the way he operated his vehicle. Remember, the standard is how a “reasonable person” would behave. The negligent driver must act differently than a normal person would. One way to prove this is if a traffic violation was issued to the other driver.
Finally, you must prove that the other driver’s negligence caused the injuries. Essentially, you have to show that your driving alone did not cause you or your passengers to be injured, and if the accident had not happened, everyone would be fine.
Shared Failure Cases
In some cases, both drivers acted negligently. If that is the case, injured drivers may not be able to recover any compensation from the other driver. What can be recovered is limited by the rules of each state.
A state with pure comparative rules allows drivers who were also negligent to recover damages from other at-fault drivers. However, the amount will depend on how much you share in the responsibility. An example is if you are found to be 70 percent responsible for the accident and damages total $10,000, you can only collect $3,000 from the other party.
States with modified comparative fault rules will allow you to collect a percentage from the other at-fault driver as long as your percentage of causing the accident is less than 50 percent. If you are found to be only 40 percent at fault and there are $10,000 worth of damages, you can collect $6,000. However, if he is still held 70 percent liable, he gets paid nothing.
Finally, there is a contributory negligence rule in some states. This means that drivers who share the fault of the car accident cannot collect anything from each other.