Most people involved in motor vehicle collisions expect to make an insurance claim for any losses they suffer. The fault for the crash will play a role in which policy covers everybody’s losses.
When the liability for your recent wreck falls to the other driver involved, you will naturally expect to make a claim against their insurance policy. Sometimes, you may even want to take them to civil court for losses that exceed what insurance will pay.
If you also made a mistake while driving that played a role in the crash, will that affect your right to compensation?
Contributory negligence can influence personal injury claims
When it comes to insurance claims, the fault or liability for the crash is typically black and white. Based on the insurance company’s analysis or the police report, one of the drivers involved is technically liable for the crash. Even if you made a minor mistake, that typically will not prevent you from asking the insurance company to cover your property damage expenses or medical caught.
The risk related to your partial fault or contributory fault largely only exists if you go to civil court. In a personal injury claim, the defendant could try to place at least some of the blame for the crash on you. If the courts agree that your failure to turn on your headlights or use a turn signal contributed to the collision, they will assign a percentage of fault to each of the drivers.
Provided that you are not primarily to blame for the crash, you can still pursue your personal injury lawsuit. However, if the courts rule in your favor, they will typically reduce the compensation awarded to you based on the percentage of fault they assigned to you. If you are 20% responsible for the crash, Washington’s contributory fault law means that you will only receive 80% of the amount awarded in the judgment.
The responsibility to prove claims of comparative fault to the defendant in a personal injury claim. They will need some kind of compelling evidence that you made a mistake that contributed to the collision. Learning more about Washington’s personal injury laws will help those pursuing compensation after a car crash.