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Why the precise division of fault in a crash affects compensation

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2023 | Car Accidents

Most vehicle crashes are primarily the fault of one driver. In many instances, however, the other driver could be faulted for not being as conscientious as possible. 

For example, maybe you had the right of way to enter an intersection when another driver ran through a stop sign and hit you. They’re certainly primarily to blame. However, they could make the case that you didn’t look in both directions as you proceeded through the intersection or maybe that you were going a few miles over the speed limit so were unable to stop.

What does “pure comparative negligence” mean?

In some states, the driver who bears more than half the blame has to pay the other driver the full amount of compensation for their damages. Louisiana is among the states, however, that use a “pure comparative negligence” rule. That means the amount owed by the person most at fault is reduced by the percentage of the other person’s fault.

Using that example above, say the driver who ran the stop sign is determined to be 90% at fault and the other driver 10% at fault. That means if the claim is assessed at $100,000, the at-fault driver (or more likely their insurance company) would only have to pay $90,000.

A lot goes into determining the percentage of fault. Insurers, law enforcement, witnesses, accident reconstruction professionals and others can all have a say. 

If you’ve been injured by a negligent or reckless driver, any percentage of fault ascribed to you means less money for your medical bills and other expenses and financial losses. That’s why it’s wise not to try to deal with this on your own. Having experienced legal guidance can make a significant difference in the amount of your settlement.