You’ve been negotiating the traffic on your morning commute and boom – you’re hit by a car. It wasn’t your fault, you’re pretty sure, so you and your St. Louis car accident lawyer filed a suit against the other driver. However, the police report indicates that you are partially at fault in a car accident. Do you have options?
The other party’s insurance company balks at paying the settlement your lawyer requires, claiming you were partly at fault for the accident. How does this affect your claim? Well, fortunately, Missouri is known as a “comparative negligence” state for car accidents, which means that you may still be able to recover damages, even if the police report or other party claims you had a hand in causing the wreck.
How fault is determined in a St. Louis car crash
Both parties, the at-fault party (defendant) and victim (plaintiff) develop cases establishing why the other driver is to blame for the partial fault car accident. In some situations, the defendant may be mostly to blame for the accident, but you, the victim, may have made a small misstep that contributed to the wreck.
For example, let’s say you were T-boned, making a left turn with a blinking yellow light. The other driver, going straight, hit you broadside. However, the other driver was going well over the speed limit, so you didn’t anticipate they would be bearing down on you that fast.
In this case, it could be argued that the driver who hit you was responsible for the crash because they were speeding and could have been reasonably expected to see you in the intersection making the turn. However, you may share a portion of the responsibility for the shared fault accident by attempting the turn on a blinking yellow light.
The other party may send your lawyer a counteroffer, reducing the initial settlement request by the percentage of fault they believe you have for the car accident.
Missouri partial fault car accident laws
Missouri car accident laws follow a “pure comparative negligence” method of assigning blame in a car collision. If your case goes to trial, then the jury may determine the percentage of fault each party shares for the collision.
The Revised Statutes of Missouri, RSMo Section 537.765 covers negligence laws in the Show-Me state. Missouri is one of the few states that follow a pure comparative method versus a partial comparative negligence model. Under pure comparative negligence laws, any plaintiff can pursue damages after a car wreck, even if they contributed up to 99% of the blame for the wreck.
Your award is reduced by your percentage of blame
However, just because you can file a suit for damages doesn’t mean that you’ll get the full amount you asked for. Under pure comparative negligence, your award is reduced by the percentage of blame you contributed to the partial fault accident.
Let’s use the example above, where you were T-boned by a speeding driver while making a left turn at a guided intersection. Your lawyer sues for $50,000 in total damages, both economic and non-economic. The jury decides you are 35% responsible for the accident because they felt you should have waited for a green arrow.
Your proposed settlement of $50,000 is reduced by 35%, or $17,500, making your final award $32,500.
Get help from a top-rated car accident lawyer in St. Louis
Do you need help seeking the maximum settlement after a car accident in St. Louis? We can help. Contact Langdon & Emison at (866) 931-2115 today for a free consultation with an experienced St. Louis car accident lawyer who is determined to fight for the maximum compensation on your behalf.