You need to understand some basic concepts if you’ve ever been involved in a car accident and the other party was at fault. Each state has slightly different laws and rules regarding insurance and liability during a car accident. Most states hold the at-fault driver legally responsible for the resulting injuries and damage. That’s why you need to understand the following:
• How personal injury law defines liability
• What happens when multiple parties are involved, and
• Special rules in no-fault car accident states.
Figuring Out Who was at Fault
If you caused the car accident, you’re at fault and have to pay for all property damage and bodily injuries incurred in the accident. Your insurance company will pay for all injuries and property damage.
If you live in a no-fault state, your insurance company will pay for bodily injuries but not for property damage. There are a few options regarding who will pay for the damage and injuries. Let’s examine these in more detail.
Other driver’s liability coverage
You’re required to buy car insurance if you drive in America. It will pay for all bodily injuries and property damage resulting from an accident that you caused. The plaintiff will make a direct claim with your insurance company. A problem emerges if the at-fault driver was either uninsured or the plaintiff was at fault for the accident. It’s time to look at some options.
You can file a claim with your insurance company if you have collision coverage. In a way, it’s a type of no-fault insurance since it will pay up to coverage limits, regardless of who was at fault. You will have to pay the deductible, which is about $500.
Pay out-of-pocket and seek reimbursement
It’s the fastest way to get your car fixed, but remember that the insurance adjuster may lower your final settlement value if he or she thinks you overpaid. You’ll need to prove that the other party was negligent. That generally includes doing one or more of the following:
Proving that a legal duty was violated – if you share the road with others, even as a pedestrian or a motorist, you have a legal duty of care towards others. That means you must be extra cautious not to harm others on the road. Most accidents happen when the duty of care is breached by negligent acts, as per personal injury lawyer in St. Catharines.
Proving that the breach of duty leads to injuries – you have to prove that the other party’s negligence leads to your property damage and injuries.
Shared Fault in Car Accident Cases
You can still get compensation, even if you were partly at fault. But that’s only true in some states. In true no-fault states, you won’t get a penny, even if you were only 1% at fault.
Pure Comparative Fault states- If you’re 30% at fault, your final settlement will be reduced by 30%
Modified Comparative Fault states- You’d get a settlement only if your share of fault was less than 50%. Your settlement will be reduced by your percentage of fault!
Contributory negligence states- You won’t get a settlement, even if you were only .05% at fault.