Car accidents are common especially in cities where there is too much traffic congestion and people are rushing to get to where they want to go. Fortunately, in the US you can get compensated if you get injured in an accident—that is, if the accident is not because of your fault. If it is completely your fault, however, and you get injured you may not get compensated.
When You are Not Completely Responsible for the Accident
The situation gets tricky when you are not completely responsible for the accident. For example, if you turn on a one-way lane and over-speeding car hits you, who will be compensated? Luckily, the laws have an answer to such questions.
Pure Contributory Negligence vs. Comparative Negligence
It is important to know the difference between these two terms in case you meet an accident. They are two principles that are followed in different states. Some states use pure contributory negligence as the way to determine if you are going to be compensated or not, while others follows comparative negligence principle.
If your state follows the principle of pure contributory negligence, they will not compensate you for your injuries if the accident is your fault, even if the other driver also has some fault of his own. For example if you are driving without your headlights on and another driver who is a little over the speed limit hits your car, which breaks your arm as a result, you will not be compensated for the sole reason that you are also at fault.
On the other side of the fence, if your state follows the comparative negligence model, the insurance companies will calculate the percentage of fault from each party involved in the car crash and both will be compensated for their injuries and damage of property.
Three Kinds of Comparative Negligence
There are three kinds of comparative fault followed in different states in the US: pure comparative fault, proportional comparative fault at 50 percent, and proportional comparative fault at 51 percent. Here are the differences between them:
1. Pure comparative fault
Pure comparative fault means simply that if people get involved in a car accident, the amount of fault or negligence for each party is going to be calculated and they will be compensated based on this calculation. For example, if a driver beats the red light and he hits you while you are running on the wrong lane, then the insurance companies will determine what the amount of fault is for you and the other party, too. If it is determined that you are 40 percent at fault, then that will be deducted from your compensation.
2. Comparative fault at 50 percent
This scheme means that once the amount of fault for each party involved in a car accident is calculated and it is determined that you are 49 percent responsible for the accident, then you can get compensation. On the other hand, if both you and the other party equally share 50 percent of the blame, then none of you is compensated. If however you are 51 percent responsible for the accident, then your insurance will have to pay for the other party as compensation.
3. Comparative fault at 51 percent
This simply means that if you are 51 percent responsible for the accident you got involved in, then you cannot file for any compensation. So if you are doing a U-turn on a road where U-turn is not allowed and get hit by another car whose driver is taking a shortcut, you can be 51 percent responsible for the accident and you won’t be eligible for any compensation.
Hire an Accident Lawyer
When it comes to car accident compensation, the concept of fault is the most critical aspect. You should get a car accident lawyer to defend your rights all the way. Having a good lawyer on your side always gives you the advantage. If you are in San Diego, call the competent attorneys of San Diego Accident Law Center.