When a car accident occurs, it's not always clear who is to blame. Each state has its own laws on how fault is determined and what that means in terms of who is responsible for covering damages. Missouri is a comparative fault, or comparative negligence, state. This means that multiple parties can be found to be responsible for the accident and the degree to which each party is at fault determines how much they are required to pay.
Car accidents can be more complicated and confusing than expected. Especially on the topic of who is at fault in an accident, it's helpful to have a practiced car accident lawyer to help you understand your case and make sure you get the best outcome possible. Your choice in a laywer can make a huge difference in how your case concludes. The attorneys of Burger Law are professional and experienced. Call us at 314-542-2222 or 618-272-2222 to speak to a lawyer about your case.
Can More Than One Driver Be At Fault in a Car Accident?
In Missouri, there is the possibility that both drivers (or multiple drivers, if it is a multi-car collision) can be found to be at fault in an accident. This is because Missouri has a comparative negligence statute in place. Multiple parties can be found responsible for the accident, and the degree to which each driver contributed to the accident is calculated as a percentage. That percentage is used to determine how much each person has to pay and, inversely, how much they can receive in damages.
Understanding comparative fault is easiest to conceptualize when considering a multiple vehicle collision. Consider an example in which there is a three-car accident on the highway. Driver A starts to drift out of their lane and hits Driver B, who is driving in the next lane. Before being struck, Driver B reacts by slamming on their breaks. Driver C is behind Driver B and is traveling above the speed limit. They do not have enough time to react, which causes them to rear-end Driver B. Each of these three drivers is responsible for the accident to a different degree.
Car accidents involving two parties may use comparative fault too. Even in a straightforward rear-ending case, the driver that was rear-ended might have contributed to the accident as well. Their brake lights might have been out. Then, while the first driver is primarily to blame for running into the vehicle in front of them, the other driver is, in small part, to blame as well. The fault that falls on the second driver could be as little as one percent; that means the total amount that the first driver would have had to pay had they been one hundred percent at fault would be reduced by one percent. In turn, the amount the second driver would have received in damages had they been completely blameless would be reduced by one percent as well.
The process of determining percents of fault is complex. A series of calculations assigns a percentage by which each respective driver caused the accident. The number could be zero for any driver who was operating carefully and in accordance with all laws, and who could not do anything to avoid the accident. However, the degree of fault is often the subject of dispute in car accident cases. Insurance companies try to find alternative sources of fault when it is their client who caused the accident initially. Without a car accident attorney, you could be taken advantage of or unfairly blamed, even if you are a victim.
St. Louis Car Accident Lawyers
Comparative fault can make a car accident case complicated quickly. If you feel you are being unfairly blamed by the other driver's insurance company, you need a car accident attorney to make sure you do not get taken advantage of. This lawyer will present evidence on your behalf and take the steps necessary to resolve the case justly.
The car accident lawyers of Burger Law are here to represent you. We are well-versed in the nuances and complications of comparative fault and the determination of fault in accidents. Schedule a free case review by calling us at 314-542-2222 or 618-272-2222 or contacting us online right now.