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Fault vs No-Fault Comparative Law States

Missouri is a comparative law state; differing from a “no-fault” or a “fault” state, this means that both parties can be found negligent and responsible for their “portion” of the accident.

At-fault states operate differently than comparative fault states. In at-fault states, only one driver is found to be negligent and liable in an accident. Even if both parties are partially responsible, if one driver is found to be more than 50% negligent for the accident, then they are liable for all the damages and the injuries that result. Someone has to be found at fault in states that operate under these laws.

aftermath of a St. Louis car accident

No-fault states are different. In these states, when you are in an accident, it doesn’t matter who is at fault or was negligent. Each driver is responsible for taking out their own insurance, and they pay for their own damages and injuries regardless of whether they were negligent at all. No-fault states’ insurance companies make no determination about who caused the accident; the drivers just cover themselves if they are injured in an automobile accident.

Missouri Law

Comparative states like Missouri are a little more complex when it comes to determining who is responsible and liable to pay for any damages and injuries resulting from a car accident. That is why it is imperative to so important to speak with a St. Louis car accident lawyer if you have been involved in an accident. Since both parties can be found partially responsible for an accident, they can then be responsible to pay for their percentage of negligence.

For example, if you are rear-ended in an accident, you might incorrectly assume that the other driver is automatically liable. After all, they ran into the back of your car. But if you didn’t give them the proper warning that you were going to turn by putting on your turn signal, and that was the reason they rear-ended you, you might be partially to blame. They would be responsible for following too closely, and you would be responsible for not using your turning signal.

How is Fault Assigned?

Comparative law determines that each driver is assigned a “percentage” of fault. Once the damages and injuries of the accident are added up, each driver is responsible for their “percentage” of fault for the accident – so, a driver who is 80% at fault would be responsible for 80% of the damages. That is why knowing how much responsibility you hold for the accident is critical to being fairly compensated.

If you are in a car accident in Missouri it in your best interest to have a St. Louis car accident attorney in your corner to help negotiate with the insurance company. Since comparative law states can become complex pretty quickly, speaking with an experienced attorney is critical to protecting yourself.

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Updated: August 9, 2018