Proving who is at fault after an injury or accident is not always that easy, and on occasions, the fault can be caused by neglect or carelessness. While it may be easy for the injured person to point their finger at who they think is at fault, before they receive compensation, they need to legally determine whose fault the accident was.
Proving who is Liable
Accidents are predominantly due to carelessness. However, when it comes to deciding who is at fault, the general rule is if one of the people involved in the accident was less careful than anyone else involved, is it is likely to be their fault. This means the person who was at fault may have to pay for at least some of the damages (Injuries) that the more careful person suffered from.
Liability for most accidents is established by the aforementioned rule of carelessness, in addition to the following propositions:
– If the injured person was not where they should have been, or if they were somewhere where an accident could be expected, the individual who caused the accident may not be found liable because they had no ‘Duty’ to care for the injured person while they were in that area.
– If the injured person was found to be careless, their monetary award could be reduced, particularly if their lack of care caused the accident. This lack of care is known as ‘Comparative negligence’.
– If someone is found to be negligent of an accident whilst they have been working for someone else, their employer may be found legally responsible for the injury or accident.
– If the accident took place on a property that has been poorly maintained or built, the property’s owner will be liable for carelessness. Liability may be found irrespective of whether the situation that caused the injury had been created by the owner.
– If the injury or accident was caused by a defective product, the seller, and manufacturer of the product will be liable, even if the injured party is unaware of who is at fault, or how the defect occurred.
When Two or More People are at Fault
When two or more people are found to be responsible for an injury or accident in most states the law says that one of the responsible parties is required to compensate for the injuries. The remaining individuals will then come to an agreement as to how they should reimburse the individual paying the compensation.
How the Claimants Carelessness Affects the Claim
If the injured person is found to have been careless and in some ways caused the accident, most US states will award compensation to the injured party. The payment may be made by another careless party who was also somewhat responsible for the accident. Another individuals’ liability will be determined by comparing their carelessness with the injured persons. The liability will be determined by a percentage, and the percentage will then determine how much they will have to pay the injured party. This is also known as ‘Comparative negligence’.
How a Liability Percentage is Decided
When it comes to working out how a liability percentage is decided, there is no correct formula to use for determining how liable someone is. However, during their claim negotiations, the injured person will speak with an insurance adjuster, discussing the many different aspects that lead to the accident. The injured parties carelessness will also be part of the discussion, and the insurance adjuster will work out how much the claim is worth. The claim will take into account medical bills and the seriousness of the injury, in addition to any loss of earnings.
If you have Been Careless: Compensation in Different US States
Comparative negligence can be applied in different ways, depending on which state the accident occurred in. Some states award compensation for injuries if another party is partially to blame, regardless of how much the injured person was at fault. However, some states are slightly more restrictive and may rule that if the injured party was at least 50% responsible for the accident they may not receive any monetary compensation. Some states will go so far as offering no compensation if the injured person was slightly more at fault than another party, or if the injured person’s carelessness partly caused the accident. This is known as ‘Contributory negligence’.
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