It is not uncommon for an individual to be partially at fault for a crash. That, however, doesn’t mean you cannot recover compensation.
Fault in truck accident cases is not always a black and white issue. After all, truck accidents are messy and there is often a multitude of contributing factors. Sure, there are instances where one driver is wholly at fault while the other is blameless—but that is not always the case. In fact, there are often many situations where both drivers may share a portion of the blame. That, however, does not mean you will not be able to recover compensation. Whether or not you will be eligible to recover damages will be determined by your percentage of fault, as well as which state you reside in / where the accident took place.
In cases where both drivers are partially at fault, whether or not you can recover damages, as well as how much damages you can recover, will be determined by the actual degree of your fault. In some states, compensation is determined by a theory known as "comparative negligence," which splits the responsibility for paying damages based upon percentages of fault. Under this theory, the amount of an individual's liability would be determined by comparing negligence between the two parties. Then, an individual's recovery for damages would be reduced by their percentage of fault.
So, for example, John makes a claim saying he suffered damages worth $100,000 in a truck crash. It is later determined that he was 40% responsible. If the judge and jury agree that the damages are worth $100,000, John would only be able to recover 60% of that total amount ($60,000).
In many states, modified comparative fault is used, which means that if you are determined to be 50 or 51% responsible for the accident occurring, you would not be eligible to recover anything in a claim.
Other rules regarding fault and compensation used by states include the following:
Pure Contributory Negligence: Under this rule, an injured party cannot recover any damages if they are determined to be even 1% at fault for the crash. There are, however, only five states that adhere to this strict legal rule.
Pure Comparative Fault: This rule is much more generous for truck accident victims, allowing them to recover damages even if they are 99% responsible for the accident. Similar to comparative negligence, however, their damages are reduced by the degree that they are at fault. Nearly one third of all states follow this rule.
If you have further questions and would like to determine whether or not you are eligible to recover damages after a trucking accident, we encourage you to contact Arnold & Itkin for a free consultation.