Explaining Partial Fault in Car Accidents

If you were partially to blame for causing your auto collision, you might still be entitled to compensation for your injuries from the negligent driver. However, the amount of compensation you could receive is very different depending on whether your accident was in Kansas or Missouri because each state has its own comparative negligence laws.

How Pure Comparative Negligence Works in Missouri

If your own negligence contributed to your crash, you will not be entitled to all the compensation you would have received if you had been completely blameless. Missouri follows the pure comparative negligence doctrine. Under this type of comparative negligence, the amount of damages you would be entitled to would be reduced by your percentage of fault in causing the crash. However, you are still able to receive some compensation even if you are found to be more negligent than the other driver.

Here’s how pure comparative negligence could affect your case. Assuming you are entitled to $200,000 in compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, you might receive the following amounts depending on your level of fault:

  • If a jury found that you were 10 percent to blame, you would be entitled to $180,000.
  • If you were 40 percent at fault, you might receive $120,000—still a substantial sum.
  • If you were 90 percent at fault, you still could technically recover 10 percent, which is $20,000. However, you may also face liability for 90 percent of the other driver’s damages.

Modified Comparative Negligence Rules in Kansas

Kansas follows the modified comparative negligence doctrine in car accident cases. Under this rule, the amount of compensation you receive would still be reduced by your level of fault. However, you would not be entitled to any compensation if you were found to be 50 percent or more to blame. You would be completely barred from obtaining any damages in this situation.

What Should You Do If the Negligent Driver’s Insurance Company Claims You Were Partially Negligent?

It is important to keep in mind that just because the insurance company for the negligent driver claims that you were completely or partially at fault in causing your accident does not mean that this is true. It is a common insurance tactic to point the finger at the victim in an effort to deny or reduce a legitimate claim.

Retaining an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible after your crash is crucial to ensure that you receive the settlement you deserve and that your legal rights are protected. To learn how the skilled and dedicated attorneys at Foster Wallace, LLC, can assist you, call our Kansas City office to schedule your free consultation today. We represent accident victims in Kansas and Missouri and handle these cases on a contingency fee basis so that you owe no attorney fees until we settle your case.