Most car accidents are the result of driver negligence, which means that a motorist failed in some way to uphold their legal duty of taking reasonable measures to safely operate a motor vehicle. This commonly results from motorists who drive distracted, disobey traffic laws, or fail to scan their surroundings prior to making turns or changing lanes. When a driver’s negligence causes a crash that could and should have been prevented, any victims they injure can seek a financial recovery of their damages, including their medical expenses and pain and suffering, by filing a personal injury claim.
While injured victims have the right to hold a negligent driver involved in their crash liable for their damages, the issue of fault and liability is not always a black and white matter, and one motorist is not always the only one at fault. For example, some crashes involve two motorists who may have both acted negligently, and therefore had some responsibility for contributing to a crash. These cases can be difficult, and they can subject injured victims to the risk of not being able to recover all of the compensation they need.
Although accidents involving shared fault and liability can be challenging, they can be effectively handled by experienced personal injury lawyers. At The Daspit Law Firm, our Beaumont car accident attorneys know that fault and liability may be split in auto accidents, which is why we leverage our extensive experience to meticulously investigate these cases and establish clear split liability agreements that ensure our clients are able to recover at least some compensation they will need to cover expenses.
When it comes to car accidents where two drivers contributed to a crash, a split liability agreement may be necessary. These agreements confirm that both motorists share culpability for a crash, and that liability for damages should also be shared. If you were an injured victim, a split liability agreement means that your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, consider the following common split liability agreements:
- 50 / 50 split – In a 50 / 50 split liability agreement, both drivers are held equally at fault for contributing to a wreck. When this is the case, both drivers accept 50% of responsibility for the crash. Injured victims will only be able to recover half of the total value of their damages, as they will be responsible for the other half. If you have $10,000 in damages and reach a 50 / 50 split liability agreement, you will only be able to recover $5,000 in compensation.
- 75 / 25 split – In some cases, one driver may be held more at fault for causing an accident, but another driver did engage in some form of negligence that contributed to the wreck. This may be the case when a driver makes a left turn at an intersection at night and hits a car with its lights off going straight, injuring the driver. Although they should have waited until the intersection was clear, the other driver’s negligence (not having their headlights on) partially contributed to the wreck. In this case, a 75 / 25 split liability agreement may be used to say that one driver was 75% responsible for an accident, while the other driver was 25% responsible. If total damages were $10,000, an injured victim would only be able to recover $7,500 – the total amount of their damages reduced by their percentage of fault.
Insurance companies often attempt to use split liability agreements as a means to pay victims as little as possible. After all, they are corporations in business to make money. Before reaching any agreement with the insurance company, you should always speak with an attorney regarding your rights. There may be facts involved that you are not aware of, and an attorney can help you either pursue the full amount of compensation you deserve by holding another driver 100% liable, or the maximum compensation possible by reaching an accurate split of fault and liability. Remember, insurance companies put profits over people, and they are not on your side.
If you have questions regarding your rights following a car accident, including one in which you might have contributed to the crash, do not hesitate to reach out for the support and representation you need. The Daspit Law Firm is available 24/7 to help injured victims, and we offer FREE consultations. Because we work on contingency fees, there are not costs to hiring our firm and no fees unless we make a successful recovery in your case.