Although it is fair that drivers should pay for their portion of negligence, sometimes the way percentages are determined is anything but fair.
If you are a driver in the state of Missouri, you are required to carry liability insurance. Liability insurance is the type of coverage that is meant to cover the at-fault driver’s injuries and the other driver’s property damage and injuries. Once who is at-fault is determined, then the insurance company of the at-fault driver is responsible for paying the related bills.
Because Missouri is a comparative negligence state, there are times when more than one driver can be liable and responsible for an accident. When there is an accident, it is possible for more than one driver, or even multiple drivers, to be found negligent and, therefore, liable.
How Comparative Negligence Works
Unlike at-fault negligence states that ascribe negligence and blame to only one driver, comparative negligence states like Missouri use a percentage of negligence to determine who is liable for paying for an accident. Each driver can be ascribed a percentage of blame and liability in Missouri.
In Missouri, it is possible for each driver to be 50 percent to blame for an accident. For example, if one driver was texting while driving and runs a red light, that driver is negligent for driving distracted. If someone runs into them who was following the rules of the road, in most cases, the distracted driver would be solely responsible. However, if the driver who hit the distracted driver was speeding, then that driver would also be responsible. Since speeding would make the other driver negligent and partially to blame for the accident, both drivers would be partially to blame.
How Percentages Are Calculated
If two parties are responsible for an accident happening, they should both share the responsibility of paying for it – there is very little argument over this. The problem with comparative negligence is that ascribing a percentage of blame to each driver according to their portion of negligence is arbitrary at best.
In the above example of a distracted driver and a speeding driver, it may make sense to spread the blame 50/50, but, unfortunately, there is no exact science to how negligence is calculated or to who pays what.
Once the percentages are decided on, the driver is responsible for paying for their portion or percentage of the total cost of both economic and non economic damages. It is easy to see why those percentages can be so critical. If an accident’s damages total over one million dollars, a minuscule two percent of blame turns into a lot of money.
This is why it is imperative to speak with a St. Louis car accident lawyer for help sorting out the details of your case. An experienced lawyer can make sure that you aren’t left paying for more than your “fair share” of negligence. By helping to negotiate what percentage of negligence you are responsible for, your attorney can protect you from greedy claims.