Can I Recover If I Am Partially Responsible For an Auto Accident?
Fault in an auto accident is not always cut and dry. In many situations, both drivers may have done something that helped cause the accident and they often point fingers at one another. If you suffer injuries in an accident and you know you were partially responsible, you may believe that you are not able to recover for any of your accident-related losses. This, however, is not the case as Missouri specifically addresses situations in which both drivers may have been at least somewhat at fault.
You Still May Have the Right to Recover
Missouri law1 has been amended to follow the theory of “pure comparative fault.”2 Unlike previous laws that prohibited an injured individual from recovering if they at all contributed to the accident, pure comparative fault principles work in favor of fair recovery. The law simply mandates that a person’s recovery be reduced by the percentage of their fault.
For example, imagine that you have to stop in traffic and the vehicle behind you slams into the back of your car. The driver had been sending a text message and, therefore, was distracted from the fact that traffic had stopped. You, however, realize that all of your brake lights had gone out prior to the accident. So, even though the driver was engaging in negligent behavior by texting, they claim that they did not know you were braking because of your lights. A jury decides that you were 25 percent at fault and the other driver was 75 percent at fault.
If your medical bills and losses equaled $20,000, the court would subtract 25 percent and only award you $15,000 to account for your potential part in causing the accident. However, $15,000 is always better than nothing.
Call an Experienced St. Louis Auto Collision Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Following any type of car accident in which you sustained injuries, you should always consult with a skilled car accident attorney whether or not you believe you contributed to causing the accident. A lawyer at The Bruning Law Firm in St. Louis can evaluate your case and determine whether you have a valid legal claim despite your contribution to the accident. Call today at 314-529-0756 for a free case evaluation.