How to Understand Contributory Negligence in St Louis Car Accidents
When you are in a car accident in Missouri, there is often only one driver deemed at fault and liable for paying for any resulting damages and injuries. However, since Missouri is a comparative negligence state, there are times when more than just one driver can be found at fault or partially at fault for an accident.
Contributory Fault Laws — What They Mean
Contributory fault means that there are times when it isn’t just one driver responsible for an accident but that both drivers played a part in it. For instance, if one driver was at a stop sign, they looked both ways and then pulled out in front of someone because they underestimated the time they had, they may both be considered at fault for pulling out in front of someone.
If the driver who pulled out couldn’t gauge how much time they had because of the speeding, then it’s likely that both drivers are to blame. However, if it is proven that the other car was going significantly over the speed limit, then the other driver might also be found partially negligent. Since the speeding vehicle was also not following the road rules, they would also be partly responsible.
What Is Contributory Negligence?
Contributory negligence works by ascribing a certain percentage of fault to both drivers. However, it is easy to see that there is no exact formula for assigning percentages to the drivers, so those percentages might feel arbitrary at best. And since there is no concrete way to say someone was precisely 10% or 20% to blame if you are in an accident where contributory negligence is a factor, it is often best to speak with an experienced attorney.
Usually, after an accident, the insurance companies are the ones who handle the logistics of paying for injuries and damages. Suppose you have two companies arguing about the amount of fault that the drivers contributed. In that case, they will both want to limit their liability by claiming that the other driver has a greater share of the blame for the accident.
If you feel you are being ascribed more fault than you should be for your car accident, it is highly recommended that you speak with an experienced St. Louis car accident attorney. They can use police reports, insurance information, and eyewitness accounts to help you build a strong case and get the compensation you are legally entitled to. Although it might be the duty of your insurance company to pay, the amount they pay might affect your premiums — or in some cases, if the accident was substantial enough and your policy limits are not enough to cover the injuries and damages, it might leave you paying out of pocket.
Why Speak With an Attorney?
Since comparative fault isn’t always clear-cut, it is a good idea to speak with an experienced car accident attorney involved to protect yourself and ensure you aren’t taking on more of the blame than you should.