When More Than One Person Is at FaultOn March 23, 2020 by Millerie Penbrock
When there is more than one person responsible for an accident — for example, if several careless drivers cause an accident — the law in most states provides that any one of the careless parties is responsible for compensating you fully for your injuries. The responsible parties must then decide between themselves whether one should reimburse the others.
This rule about collecting from any responsible person provides you with a couple of important advantages. If one liable person is insured and the other is not, you can make your claim against the insured person for the full amount. And even if both are insured, you will have to settle your claim with only one party. Initially, consider everyone you think might be responsible and have your attorney notify each of them that you may file a claim for damages. Then, depending on what you discover about how the accident happened, or on which insurance company takes responsibility, your thelawman.net attorney might pursue a claim against only one.
How Your Own Carelessness Affects Your Claim
Even if you were careless and partly caused your injuries, in most states you can still get at least some compensation from anyone else who was also careless and partly responsible for the injuries. The amount of the other person’s liability for the accident is determined by comparing his or her carelessness with your own. The percentage of liability determines the percentage of the resulting damages he or she must pay. This rule is referred to as comparative negligence. There is no formula for arriving at a precise number for a person’s comparative carelessness.
During claim negotiations, the attorneys for each party will discuss all the factors that might have resulted in the injuries. Then the question of your own carelessness goes into the negotiating hopper along with all the other factors that determine how much your claim is worth — such as the seriousness of your injury and the amount of your medical bills. Whatever that rough percentage of your fault might be — 10%, 50%, 75% — is the amount by which the damages total will be reduced to arrive at a final settlement or award figure.