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What Happens When Fault Is Shared in Car Crashes In Sarasota


As a motorist, you have a responsibility to drive safely and obey traffic laws. However, given how chaotic traffic is getting on local roads like Fruitville, Tamiami Trail, and Unversity Parkway it’s not surprising that even the most cautious drivers can get into serious car accidents. When a collision occurs, insurance companies investigate to assign fault percentages. You may assume one party is completely to blame, but many crashes involve shared liability. If you are deemed partially at fault, it reduces your ability to recover damages, and under Florida’s new modified shared negligence rules, if you are over 50% at fault you will be ineligible to recover from the other party., however, short of 50% fault you would be eligible to pursue a recovery.

Negotiating these complex legal waters requires an experienced personal injury attorney in the local Sarasota area. Understanding how fault is determined and the impact of shared responsibility empowers you to protect your rights after a car accident.

 Fault in Car Accidents In Sarasota

Insurers Assign Fault Based on Evidence

After a car accident, insurance companies will conduct an investigation to determine who caused the crash based on physical evidence, witness statements, and accounts from the drivers involved. Fault refers to the party who was primarily responsible for the accident. Determining fault is important because it affects who pays for damages and injuries in Sarasota.

Typically, the driver who rear-ends another vehicle or runs a red light is considered at fault. However, in some cases, fault may be shared between multiple drivers. For example, if one driver changes lanes without signaling and another driver is speeding or distracted, both could share some responsibility. Shared fault means each driver’s insurance company may be liable for a portion of the costs.

How Shared Fault Impacts Claim Settlements

When fault is shared, each insurance company will likely pay a percentage of the total costs based on their driver’s degree of fault. For example, if Driver A is deemed 60% at fault and Driver B is 40% at fault, Driver A’s insurance may pay 60% of the damages while Driver B’s insurance pays 40%. The specific percentages will depend on each company’s assessment of the evidence.

In Florida under modified comparative negligence, a driver cannot recover damages if they are found to be more than 50% at fault. However, in several other states follow comparative negligence rules, allowing recovery of damages even when a driver is predominantly at fault, with the award reduced by their percentage of fault. An experienced car accident lawyer can help determine how shared fault may impact your potential claim settlement in your state.

How Fault Is Determined in Car Crashes

When an automobile accident occurs, insurance companies conduct investigations to determine which driver is at fault. They examine police reports, photos of vehicle damage, and witness statements. If fault cannot be conclusively assigned to one driver, the insurance companies may declare the accident a case of shared or dual fault.

Police Reports and Witness Statements

Police officers responding to an accident will interview drivers and any witnesses to determine the sequence of events leading up to the crash. Witness statements that corroborate one driver’s version of events can help establish fault. Conflicting witness accounts may lead investigators to conclude that both drivers share some degree of fault.

Damage Analysis

Insurance adjusters carefully analyze photos of the vehicle damage. The location and severity of damage to each vehicle provide clues about the positions and movements of the vehicles before and during the impact. For example, damage primarily to the front of one vehicle and the side of the other may indicate that one driver failed to stop at an intersection. Widespread damage to both vehicles could suggest negligence on the part of both drivers.

State Laws on Comparative Fault

Most states follow the doctrine of comparative fault, meaning that liability and damages are apportioned according to the degree of fault assigned to each party. If the fault is shared equally between drivers, damages may be split 50/50. The precise apportionment of fault depends on the details of the accident and applicable laws in your state. Florida recently changed from comparative negligence, where all parties can recover if the other driver was at least partially at fault, to modified comparative negligence where only drivers less than 50% at fault may recover damages from the other driver, and their insurance company.

Consulting with an experienced car accident lawyer at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh is advisable if you have been in an accident where fault is disputed or shared between multiple parties. They can review the details of your case, determine how much you may recover in damages, and build a strong claim to get you the maximum compensation allowed under the law.

What Happens When Both Drivers Are at Fault In Sarasota?

Legal Implications

When both drivers share blame in an automobile accident, the legal implications can be complex. In states with “comparative negligence” laws, each party’s percentage of fault is determined. Drivers then have the right to recover damages proportional to the other party’s fault. For example, if Driver A is deemed 60% at fault and Driver B is 40% at fault, Driver A can recover 40% of damages from Driver B, and vice versa.

Lawsuits and Settlements

In shared fault accidents, it is common for both parties to file lawsuits against each other to recover damages. During legal proceedings, a jury will evaluate evidence from both sides to determine each party’s comparative fault. Witness testimony, photographs, police reports, and other records are typically reviewed. Based on these evaluations, each party’s percentage of fault is decided.

Settlements before a trial are also common in dual-fault cases. To avoid lengthy legal battles, drivers may negotiate with insurance companies to determine an acceptable split of fault and agree on settlement amounts. It is in the best interest of both parties to settle when fault is relatively even, as juries can be unpredictable. Settlement also allows drivers to recover damages more quickly.

Impact on Insurance

For insurance companies, shared fault accidents can be problematic, as both companies may be responsible for paying out damages. Drivers should report accidents to their insurers as soon as possible and provide evidence to support their claim. In some cases, insurers may work together to determine fault and negotiate an acceptable settlement for their clients. Policy premiums may also increase for drivers deemed partially at fault.

When blame is shared in auto accidents, complex legal and insurance issues can arise. However, comparative negligence laws in most states ensure that both at-fault drivers have the right to recover damages proportional to the other party’s fault. Lawsuits, settlements, and negotiations are often required to determine each driver’s percentage of fault and compensation.

The Role of Automobile Accident Attorneys When Fault Is Shared In Sarasota

When automobile accidents result in shared fault, the role of legal counsel becomes crucial.

Assessing Liability

Attorneys must conduct a thorough investigation to determine the percentage of fault attributable to each party. They will review police reports, witness statements, and other evidence to build a case for their client. Even if their client was partially at fault, they can still seek compensation for damages by arguing that the other party was more culpable.

Representing Multiple Clients

In some situations, attorneys may represent clients from both sides of an accident if there are no conflicts of interest. They can handle negotiations with insurance companies and work to obtain fair settlements for all parties involved. However, if liability disputes arise or settlement cannot be reached, the attorneys must withdraw from representing one party to avoid ethical conflicts.

Understanding State Laws on Shared Fault

The laws of contributory negligence vary in each state. Some states follow pure contributory negligence, barring any recovery if the plaintiff is even partially at fault. Other states apply comparative negligence, where damages are reduced in proportion to the plaintiff’s share of fault. A handful of states use slight/gross negligence, denying recovery only if the plaintiff’s negligence is equal to or greater than the defendant’s.

Attorneys well-versed in their state’s automobile accident laws can determine if a case is viable, even when fault is shared. They understand how to negotiate with insurance companies and maximize compensation for clients. By conducting a thorough investigation into the circumstances of the accident and establishing arguments for their client’s position, attorneys play an essential role in navigating the complexities of dual fault dilemmas.

Frequently Asked Questions About Shared Fault Car Accidents

How is fault determined in an accident?

To determine fault in a car accident, insurance companies and legal professionals evaluate the actions of the drivers involved to establish negligence. They examine factors like adherence to traffic laws, use of signals, observance of speed limits, sobriety, and other details that could have contributed to the collision. Based on the findings, each driver may be assigned a percentage of fault.

How does shared fault impact claims?

When fault is shared in an accident, insurance companies and courts determine compensation based on the degree of responsibility assigned to each party. For example, if Driver A is deemed 60% at fault and Driver B 40%, Driver A’s insurance may cover 60% of the costs while Driver B’s covers 40%. The specifics depend on the laws of the state where the accident took place.

Can I still file a claim if I’m partially at fault?

Yes, even if you share some fault in an accident, you can still file an insurance claim to recover losses. However, your payout may be reduced based on your percentage of responsibility. It is best to consult with legal counsel to understand your rights and the strength of your case before accepting an insurance settlement, especially if major injuries or expenses are involved. An experienced attorney can advocate on your behalf to maximize your compensation.

What if the other driver doesn’t have insurance?

Unfortunately, if the other driver lacks sufficient insurance and is also at fault, recovering damages may be difficult. Your own uninsured motorist coverage may provide some protection, but likely with limits. You have the option to pursue legal action against the other driver to obtain a judgment for the amount owed. However, collecting payment on that judgment is not guaranteed. The assistance of a lawyer is highly advisable in these complex situations.

Determining fault in a shared accident and navigating the claims process can be complicated. Understanding your rights, responsibilities, and options under the law is important to achieve the fairest outcome. Consulting with legal professionals who handle car accident and personal injury cases may help provide guidance during this difficult time.

Contact Justice Pays

A Free Consultation

Should you find yourself in a motor vehicle accident where fault is shared between parties, contact the law firm of Justice Pays for a free case evaluation. Their team of experienced attorneys have a successful track record representing clients in complex car accident litigation. Schedule an initial consultation to discuss the details of your incident and have your questions answered regarding your legal rights and options for pursuing compensation.

Over $500 Million Won for Clients

With headquarters in Bradenton, Florida and serving clients throughout the state, Justice Pays has won over $500 million in verdicts and settlements for individuals injured in car crashes and other personal injury cases. Their attorneys are highly skilled at navigating legal disputes where liability is disputed or shared between multiple parties. They will evaluate how much you may be able to recover in a fair settlement that accounts for the percentage of fault attributed to the other driver.

Aggressive Legal Representation

When insurance companies deny or delay claims involving shared fault, Justice Pays provides aggressive representation to hold them accountable. They are fully prepared to take cases to trial if necessary to fight for maximum compensation on behalf of their clients. The firm offers contingency-based billing so you pay nothing upfront and only owe legal fees if they win your case. Their goal is to handle the legal complexities so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.

Contact Justice Pays today for a free case review and to discuss your options after an accident where multiple parties share blame. Their experienced attorneys have the knowledge and resources to pursue fair outcomes even under complicated circumstances. Let them fight to get you the compensation you deserve.

When determining fault in an auto accident, it is not always clear-cut. There are times when both parties share some degree of blame. Understanding how comparative negligence works is key. An experienced attorney at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh can argue your case effectively, making sure you are not held more responsible than warranted. With shared fault, you may still recover damages, just at a reduced rate. Do not assume an accident was solely your fault. Consult a professional who can investigate and identify if any negligence lies with the other party as well. Though complex, comparative negligence allows for a more equitable outcome. With legal guidance, you can achieve the best resolution.

Attorney David Goldman has a strong belief that everyone should be treated fairly and those with the means should do what they can to bring justice in all areas of our society. That belief has led him to help Florida's injured from being taken advantage of by corporations and insurance companies. Since 1989 David Goldman has been fighting for the rights of Floridians both as an attorney and by personally supporting our community.

What Happens When Fault Is Shared in Car Crashes In Sarasota

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh




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