The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. Articles How Comparative Fault and At-Fault Car Accident Laws Differ

How Comparative Fault and At-Fault Car Accident Laws Differ

By Christopher Hoffmann  Jul. 12, 2018 2:24p

Drivers in the state of Missouri adhere to comparative negligence for car accidents. It is a law that allows both drivers, or even multiple, to be at-fault for a car accident. Unlike at-fault laws where only one driver can be found negligent and at-fault, each driver is apportioned a percentage of negligence or fault in an accident, and then responsible for paying for whatever their portion is.

Negligence means that a driver did something that caused an accident to happen. Or, it can mean that a driver should have acted in a specific way and didn’t, and, therefore, an accident happened. In states that operate under the at-fault rule, anyone who is deemed more than 50% responsible is generally held 100% liable for paying for any damages and injuries that result from a car accident.

How Is Comparative Negligence Determined?

Comparative negligence is when each driver is ascribed a specific portion of negligence. That portion is expressed as a percentage of how much they contributed to an accident happening. For instance, if one driver is hit from behind, typically, the driver who rear-ended another driver would be 100% responsible.

If the driver who was rear-ended stopped suddenly, and without warning, then in Missouri, it is possible for them to be held partially responsible for the accident.

Is Contributory Negligence an Exact Equation?

Although it would seem reasonable that anyone who contributes to an accident should be held liable for the part they played, there is no exact equation for contributory negligence. The way that it works is that the insurance companies usually negotiate how much each driver is responsible for the accident.

Since there is no standard to determine how much someone is responsible for an accident, if you don’t have someone on your side to help lessen your burden of negligence, it is possible to carry more responsibility than you should.

If you don’t hire a St. Louis car accident attorney to help in the negotiation phase of determining who is at-fault, and for how much, it is highly possible that you will be on the hook for paying for more of your fair share.

Contributory negligence is an excellent way to hold all drivers who are responsible for an accident liable for their portion. Unfortunately, there is no standard equation that is used to determine each driver’s portion specifically.

That is why it is essential if you are in an accident and more than one driver is deemed negligent, that you have someone on your side. If the other driver, or drivers, have someone in their corner, then it is likely that you will have to pay for more than you should.

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