In most car crashes, it is very easy to pin the blame on one liable party whose obvious actions or inactions caused the crash. However, in some cases, the crashes are caused by both drivers who engaged in negligent behavior that contributed to the collision. For instance, if both drivers were texting someone while driving, both can be held liable for the collision, depending on the laws of the state where it took place.
In some states, none of the drivers in a shared-fault accident is eligible to pursue compensation from their insurer or the other driver. However, in other states, both parties are eligible to pursue damages from the other party. Thus, if you have been involved in a collision caused by texting while driving, you should reach out to an experienced attorney to get advice on how to proceed depending on the state you’re in. To determine the liable party in a shared-fault collision, some states adhere to the following:
A lot of states, including Florida, use the comparative liability law to determine the amount of compensation each party will receive. In this law, the drivers will be assigned a particular percentage of the blame and can seek recovery from the other driver or drivers based on their percentage of blame or level of fault. For example, Driver A can be assigned 40% of the blame and driver B 60%. In such a scenario, driver A can pursue 60% of their total losses from driver B while driver B can pursue 40% of their damages from driver A.
Some states follow a very strict contributory negligence system. According to this system, if a driver shares any blame in a collision, even if it’s 1%, they are automatically disqualified from pursuing any compensation from the other driver.
For example, consider a scenario where one driver rams into another from behind because they were chatting on the phone and got distracted. At first glance, it may look like the driver who rear-ended another is solely to blame. However, if the police determine that the driver in the front did not have working brake lights or taillights, they may assign a 10% blame on that driver for having an unsafe vehicle.
In such an instance, even though the driver who rear-ended another car bears the majority of the blame, the front driver loses eligibility to pursue the claim because they also contributed to the collision.
Modified Comparative Negligence
This system combines aspects of both contributory negligence and comparative negligence. For instance, one driver may pursue compensation from another, but only if their percentage of the blame does not surpass a particular level, which is usually fifty or fifty-one percent.
If you have been involved in a collision where both you and the other driver did actions that contributed to the crash, you should immediately contact an attorney for assistance. The professional will help you determine how to proceed depending on the system that your state follows, whether that is comparative negligence, contributory negligence, or modified comparative negligence.