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What Happens If I Am Partially At Fault For Causing An Accident?
January 1, 2021
Most accidents are not caused by only one person. Two or more people involved in the accident can all be partially to blame for the accident. But what happens if you are cited as being at partial fault for causing an accident and you want to claim compensation for the losses you incurred? No matter the circumstances of a car accident, contact a Brockton car accident lawyer at the Law Office of Robert C. Shea for a free case review.
How is Liability Determined?
First, the insurance companies or the court will determine the degree of liability assigned to each person. This liability is directly translated into what percentage of fault each person carries in causing the accident and therefore the percentage of compensation that they will be awarded.
In order to determine liability, you will be asked certain questions to calculate your degree of fault. For example:
- How fast were you driving?
- Did you fail to stop at a red light?
- Were you texting or talking on the phone?
- Were you wearing a seatbelt?
If you are found to have been more than 50% at fault in causing the accident, you will not receive any compensation.
However, if you were less than 50% at fault, your compensation will be relative to your percentage of fault. So if you were 20% at fault, you will receive 80% of the amount of compensation that is awarded to you.
How Is The Percentage Of Partial Fault Determined?
This can be a complicated process. Most commonly, insurance companies, lawyers and courts look at the accident to assign a degree of fault. What events led up to the accident? Was the driver under the influence of a substance or were they distracted by texting or talking on the phone? Did the driver fail to obey traffic signs or were they driving above the speed limit? Was a third driver responsible for causing a rear-end collision involving multiple cars?
The lawyers representing each party and the insurance companies will discuss these events in order to determine the percentage of fault. It is therefore critical to have a Boston car accident attorney represent your best interests when deciding the degree of fault that should be assigned to you.
The lawyers and insurance adjusters may also call witnesses to the accident to get a better idea of what happened. These may include expert witness testimony.
Expert witnesses can provide the following relevant information related to the accident:
- Police reports
- CCTV or video footage of the accident or the scene of the accident (traffic cameras or other surveillance video)
- Photo’s taken of the scene of the accident (after the accident) including your car and other cars involved in the accident as well as pictures of yourself and others involved in the accident.
The police report will play a big role in determining fault while the other factors will be taken into consideration.
If you don’t agree with the percentage of fault assigned to you, contact a car accident attorney for assistance in determining liability.
What To Say If You’re Are Partially At Fault?
No matter how much you feel that you may have contributed to causing the accident, it is never a good idea to admit fault. It is human nature to want to apologize and admit fault. But everything you say can be held against you when it comes to assigning fault. So take a deep breath and think before you speak to anyone at the scene of the accident. Remember that witnesses and the other people involved in the accident can testify that you admitted fault or apologized.
When the police arrive and start questioning you, answer their questions in private. Tell them only the facts about the events and do NOT say that it was your fault. The same goes for insurance companies – they are already looking for any excuse to pay less compensation than you deserve and admitting fault will give them the reason they need.
This is not lying. Even if you did something that caused the accident, it doesn’t mean that the other driver was not partially at fault. Say as little as possible and if you feel pressured to admit fault, ask that your attorney be present while answering questions.
It is also advisable not to admit fault or talk about the accident to family, friends or other people. The only person who you should ever admit fault to is your attorney and this should be done in private.
Partial Fault in an Auto Accident? Contact the Law Office of Robert C. Shea, P.C!
The best advice is to contact an attorney in Boston who specializes in car accident injury cases as soon as possible after the accident has occurred. Your health and wellbeing is a priority and the next step after getting medically assessed is to call an attorney.
If you think you were partially at fault and are uncertain about how determining liability will affect your case, contact us to schedule a free consultation today.