Experienced Personal Injury Representation

Can you still seek damages if you’re partly at fault for a crash?

Some vehicle crashes are completely the fault of one driver. In many cases, however, even when one driver is primarily to blame, the other driver bears some responsibility. 

For example, maybe you approached an intersection where there was no stop sign, so you proceeded into it. A car approaching the intersection perpendicular to you had a stop sign, but they ran through it and hit you. That’s their fault, right? It certainly seems that way, but maybe it turns out that you were speeding. Maybe you were looking at your cellphone, so you didn’t look both ways just to make sure no one was coming. How will that affect your ability to get compensation?

How does the pure comparative negligence rule work?

State laws regarding negligence vary. Louisiana is one of the states that follows what’s called the “pure comparative negligence” rule. That means the person who is most at fault is responsible for compensating the other (or more likely, their insurance company is). However, the amount of compensation they owe is reduced by the other driver’s percentage of fault.

Say your damages total $200,000, but you’re determined to be 10% at fault. That means your compensation would be reduced by that 10% or $20,000. That’s a very simplified example, but it gives you an idea of how the law works.

You can see why an accurate determination of fault is critical to getting the compensation you deserve. Insurers will look at the police report, witness statements, photos and video if they’re available as well as each party’s side of the story. Having experienced legal guidance can help you protect your rights and get a fair settlement.