Missouri’s pure comparative fault system is confusing to a lot of people, especially car accident victims who may be directly affected by their percentage of fault.
The laws work on the premise that it’s possible for more than one party to be at-fault for a car accident. For the purpose of awarding compensation, each party is assigned a percentage of fault, based essentially on how much their actions may have contributed to the overall ordeal. For instance, driver 1 can seem 100% at fault because they rear-ended driver 2, causing them to swerve and hit another vehicle on the next lane, but evidence shows driver 2 was talking on the phone at the time of the accident. Each driver then gets a percentage of fault.
How That Percentage Affects You
You generally cannot receive total damages after a car accident if you are also partially at fault for it. This is why lawyers usually argue vigorously for their clients to lower the percentage of fault as much as possible, in the hopes of recovering full damages.
Because if, for instance, you are attributed 30% fault, you can then only receive 70% of your total damages. The rest of the 30% is your responsibility because that’s how much your fault weighs in this case.
Fault percentage isn’t awarded on a whim – it’s decided on the facts of the case, and how well each party makes their point. This is why it’s completely possible to receive a percentage of fault that is not accurate, which often happens when car accident victims lack legal representation going into the insurance claims process.
Can You Challenge Your Fault Percentage?
Most insurance companies will have internal procedures on how to handle disputes regarding fault percentages, which usually comprise of having a different adjuster analyze the case. Companies may even bring an outside mediator to weigh in on the matter.
If you don’t agree with your fault percentage, you should get in touch with an experienced St. Louis car accident lawyer as soon as possible. It’s possible that with their help (and additional evidence) your fault percentage may be changed.
If that doesn’t work, you also have the option of going to court, in which case you will definitely benefit from the assistance of an experienced attorney. Going to court isn’t really ideal for everyone involved, as it is a rather lengthy process in which the outcome is almost impossible to predict, but it may be the best option for you. Your lawyer may help you determine what is best for your situation.
Speak With a Car Accident Attorney ASAP
If you don’t agree with your fault percentage, reach out to a St. Louis car accident lawyer for additional support. They can help you challenge the percentage and help you recover the full amount of compensation you are legally entitled to.