Who is at fault for the car crash?
Finding yourself involved in an accident or personal injury can be a difficult and painful experience, particularly if you are left with long-term pain and damage. In some cases, you may be in a position to claim compensation for the injuries that you have suffered, and this can help to meet the cost of necessary expenses such as medical bills, loss of earnings, and adaptations to your home and vehicle.
In order to understand your right to compensation in Idaho, you need to understand the notion of comparative fault – this concept plays a major role in the amount of compensation that you will be entitled to receive, as well as the way in which your claim is structured. Fortunately for you, our team of skilled professionals are on hand to help you navigate the world of personal injury, and will work with you to ensure that you receive the compensation that you need to rebuild your life.
What Is Comparative Fault?
Whenever an accident or personal injury situation occurs, the term “fault” will be used to refer to the legal responsibility that an individual holds for the accident. Fault is usually attributed to the person or the party who is deemed to be most responsible for causing the victim’s injuries -for example, in a car accident, a driver who was distracted or drunk at the wheel will be found to be at fault for the injuries of the victim that they hit.
In some cases, the defendant will not be allocated the full brunt of the blame -and this is known as comparative fault. Comparative fault means that if the victim is found to have been partially at fault for their injuries or for an accident, then any damages or compensation will be adjusted according to the percentage that the victim is being blamed for.
Comparative Negligence Versus Contributory Negligence
There are two main types of states when it comes to handling personal injury cases: comparative negligence states, which the majority of states fall into, and contributory negligence.
Comparative negligence states do not block a victim from seeking financial compensation and damages, even if they are found to have been personally responsible for the accident. Pure comparative negligence states also allow an injured party to claim compensation no matter the percentage of fault that is allocated to them – for example, a plaintiff could be deemed to be 99% at fault for their injuries, and would still be entitled to seek compensation in a pure comparative negligence state. The second type of comparative negligence is a modified comparative negligence state, which sees the plaintiff’s ability to recover damages set at a certain percentage of fault, usually between 49% and 51%. If the plaintiff’s level of fault is said to be above this limit, they will not be entitled to recover damages.
Contributory negligence states, on the other hand, will bar the injured person from claiming even 1% in compensation if they are found to be in any way at fault for their injuries.
The state of Idaho is a comparative negligence state, and legislation confirms that comparative responsibility for an accident will not prevent a victim from seeking financial damages and compensation for the negligence of another party. This means that victims of car accidents will not have to worry about being barred from claiming compensation if they are found to be slightly at fault. It should be noted, however, that Idaho operates under modified comparative negligence, and so a victim allocated a high level of fault may be ineligible for recovering damages.
The modified comparative negligence guidance in Idaho means that the responsibility of the plaintiff must not be as great as or exceed the fault of the defendant. This means that if a plaintiff is found to be over 49% responsible for their injuries, they will not be entitled to recover or claim damages. In addition, any fault below 49% will see the total damages and compensation awarded reduced by the percentage that the plaintiff is deemed to be at fault. As an example, if a plaintiff is deemed to be 10% at fault for their injuries in a case where damages of $100,000 are available, their damages will be reduced by 10%, or $10,000, allowing the victim to receive a total of $90,000 in compensation.
How Is Fault Determined?
Idaho law sees comparative negligence decided by the civil courts, and the judge will look at all facts related to the accident, including investigations of the scene, statements from eyewitnesses, any medical records or documents, photographs, video footage, drivers records, cell phone records and so on.
Both sides of the case will be heard, and the court will look at the evidence to determine whether the plaintiff is at fault, and how much they contributed.
Your Next Steps
If you are injured in an accident caused by the negligence of a third party, you may be able to recover damages and compensations. Understanding comparative fault and negligence allows you to assess the amount of damages that you may be entitled to, and this can be valuable in rebuilding your life.
Get in touch today, and let our experienced team take on your case, and ensure that you have access to the compensation that you deserve.