Liability and fault refer to a person’s responsibility for an auto accident, as well as their obligation to pay for the damages caused. The person responsible for the accident is typically at fault due to negligence (carelessly doing things that most people know would be harmful) or recklessness (willfully performing an action known to cause harm). Here, Cainlaw-okc.com offers a brief explanation of fault as it pertains to automobile accidents.
Different Fault Types
In an auto accident, your ability to make a recovery is largely determined by fault. Some states have a “no fault” rule, meaning that each driver’s insurer pays their client’s damages no matter who caused the crash. However, most states consider each person’s percentage of fault, and limit recoverable damages according to that percentage. States take one of the following approaches:
1. Contributory negligence – If your behavior played a role in the crash, you cannot make a monetary recovery even if the other person was 99% at fault. States using this rule include DC, Alabama, Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland.
2. Comparative fault – You are entitled to compensation although it is reduced according to the amount of fault you bear. Comparative fault states include Alaska, Arizona, Florida, California, New Mexico, Missouri, Mississippi, Kentucky, Rhode Island and Washington.
3. Proportional/Comparative Fault – The person carrying most of the fault cannot recovery, while the other party receives proportional damages. If both parties are equally at fault, neither can recover. States using this rule include Idaho, North Dakota, Main, West Virginia, Georgia, Arkansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Colorado.
An Auto Accident Attorney in Oklahoma City can Help to Determine Fault
In most accidents, determination of fault is more complex than seeing which vehicle hit the other. Lawyers and insurance companies examine police reports to see if negligence or citations exist. A citation cannot prove fault, but can lend credence to other types of evidence. Witness testimony can help to determine what happened before a crash, and state vehicle codes can assign fault. However, many automobile accidents can be prevented by driving safely. If you’ve been in an auto accident and need help in court, call an Auto Accident Attorney in Oklahoma City right away.
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