Determination Of Accident Fault And Liability

Whenever an accident occurs, one of the parties involved is usually at fault. It follows that the party at fault has to take the responsibility for the accident. This means that the person who takes fault and liability and their insurance is required to pay for the damages suffered by the other party. If one is a passenger in a car that is involved in an accident and they happen to suffer injuries, they are supposed to be paid by the offending party or the insurance covering the party that is at fault. The issue of proving fault and liability is not as straightforward as one may imagine. There are other factors that come to play before the blame is heaped on one party. In cases when the fault is not clear, there is shared responsibility for the accident.


When one party in an accident is judged to have been at fault, there are two categories of faults. The fault can either be through negligence where the offender is judged to have acted carelessly by acting in a way that any reasonable person would see can cause harm. The fault can also be as a result of recklessness when the offender is said to have done something they know can cause harm to others. If you are a motorist who has suffered an injury following an accident, the type of fault determines your compensation claim. Depending on the state, the claims and damages paid depend on your contribution of the accident. If your part in the accident is categorized as pure contributory negligence, you are unlikely to be awarded any damages even if the other party is judged to have been 99% at fault.

In case of pure comparative fault where you are said to have been partially at fault for your injuries, the amount of damages to be paid are reduced by the percentage you are at fault. If for example you were 20% at fault, the damages are reduced by 20%. In case of proportional comparative fault, it simply means that the party that has the higher percentage of fault is not entitled to damages. This means that were you to be judged to have contributed 51% and above to the accident, you cannot file for damages. But if you proportion of blame was less than 49%, you can claim for damages. However, if both parties contributed 50% of the accident blame, neither party can file for damages. The determination of who is at fault is usually made by the police through inspection of the accident scene and after taking statements from witnesses.