Car accidents occur countless times per day. In some accidents, it is clear which driver involved in the accident is responsible. For example, in rear-end collisions the second driver the struck the first driver is almost always the one who caused the accident. In many cases, however, liability for an accident is disputed. Additionally, it is not uncommon for the party that is injured in a car accident to be partially responsible for causing the accident. If you suffered injuries in a car accident and you believe you may be partially at fault for causing the accident you should speak with a trusted car accident attorney as soon as possible to discuss the circumstances surrounding your collision and whether you may be able to recover compensation.
A party seeking to recover compensation for injuries sustained in a car accident must prove another party is liable for his or her harm. The majority of car accident cases pursue damages via a negligence claim. Negligence is comprised of four elements: a duty, breach, causation, and damages. In car accident cases, the duty owed is typically the duty to drive in a safe and reasonable manner under the circumstances that were present at the time of the accident, and the breach is the failure to do so. To prove causation you must show that the breach of the duty caused the accident. It is not necessary to show that the breach was the only cause of the accident, but you must show that the accident would not have occurred if the defendant did not breach his or her duty. Lastly, you must show that you suffered damages that can be quantified.
In many car accident cases, the defendant will attempt to refute liability by arguing that the injured driver caused the accident, and therefore, he or she should not be able to recover financially for the injuries sustained in the accident. If you were injured in a car accident, in most states if you are found to be partially liable for causing your car accident it does not automatically mean you cannot recover any damages. For example, Illinois law provides for modified comparative negligence. Here a plaintiff in any lawsuit seeking compensation for personal injury is not barred from recovering compensation if he or she is not more than fifty percent responsible for causing the injuries for which he or she seeks to recover. Thus, as long as your fault in causing your accident is not greater than fifty percent, you may be awarded damages. Any damages you are awarded, however, will be reduced in proportion to the amount of fault allocated to you. Twenty-three states use modified comparative negligence.