Sometimes fault is very cut and dried in a car accident. For example, in drunk driving cases the guilty party is always the drunk driver. Fault can be easily proven through medical records. Although drunk driving accounts for a large number of accidents, they don’t account for all of them. Sometimes it isn’t always clear who’s at fault in a car accident.
In other cases, both parties may share some responsibility for the accident. It is normally the job of the judge, insurance adjuster, or the jury to determine who is at fault for the collision. After further investigation, both parties may be found guilty and this will affect their settlement. In this article, we will explain what to do when fault isn’t obvious in a car accident.
After a formal complaint is filed, it is up to the plaintiff and defendant to provide evidence that supports their position. Police reports are often the most reliable forms of evidence. The police officer is an unbiased party that assesses the accident. They can determine what vehicular laws are broken and who was at fault. However, police reports are not the only way fault is determined. Eyewitness reports provide a wealth of information. Medical records and vehicular damage also gives credence to the plaintiff or the defendant.
In most cases, the plaintiff or defendant can claim contributory negligence or comparative negligence as a defense. Contributory negligence is the belief that the plaintiff is partially responsible for the accident by their own negligent behavior. This defense is recognized by a few states such as North Carolina, Alabama, and Maryland. Contributory negligence is a very harsh defense and it prevents sufferers from receiving any compensation for the accident.
The comparative negligence takes a few different forms. Pure comparative negligence states that victims can receive damages despite their involvement in the accident. That means even if the party is 100% at fault, they can still receive compensation. Modified comparative negligence means that victims receive partial compensation if they take less than 50% responsibility for the accident. In Colorado, contributory negligence does not prevent a claimant from receiving recovery, provided that claimant’s negligence is not greater than defendant’s. But any damages allowed will be diminished in proportion to the claimant’s degree of negligence.
Getting a Car Accident Lawyer
Recovering damages is tricky when fault isn’t obvious in a car accident. In order to maintain your innocence, you need a qualified car accident lawyer. If the case goes to trial, there will be a discovery process. During this process, records are obtained and distributed between both parties. New facts may be discovered about the case. Even if the case is settled out of court, your contributory or comparative negligence will determine the amount of your damages. Your car accident lawyer’s job is to ensure that you are treated fairly. They will work hard to prove your innocence or limited liability in an accident.
Heuser & Heuser law firm is a team of personal injury lawyers that work in the Colorado Springs and Pueblo area. Their expertise has allowed them to get millions worth of settlement money for their clients. If you’re in need of a car accident lawyer, call Heuser & Heuser today!