Rolling down the road, trying to let off some stress on your way home, and then someone nudges the back of your car. A rear-end collision. They happen all the time, everywhere, and especially when you’re least expecting it. These rear-end collisions can come with quite a bit of injury, particularly if you were stopped at the time of impact.
But what exactly happens in the process that could find you at fault in any way? Well, there are many ways that a driver who seemingly was not doing anything wrong could get pinned with partial fault, and part of it is a big insurance game. You’ll want to contact one of our Ohio car accident lawyers for guidance in that situation.
What Comparative Negligence Means
Partial negligence is the term used for the person who is the victim of the crash but also contributed to the crash damages. The comparative negligence law which went into effect in Ohio in 1980. Before comparative negligence, Ohio used a pure contributory negligence system, which basically meant that if you contributed to the crash in any way, you were unable to receive any type of recovery for your losses.
The new system, with comparative negligence, is a lot more forgiving. This means that you can be 10, 20, or even 45% at fault and still receive some compensation. Comparative negligence determines the person who is 50 one or more percent at fault as the “at fault” driver. However, it can be really confusing, and even hurtful, when you feel as though you did nothing wrong and you’re assigned a percentage of fault.
Rear-End Collisions and Fault
Rear end collisions are usually cut and dry. The person who slammed into the back of your vehicle is responsible for the damage, right? Not exactly. Rear end collisions usually do peg the rear driver as the responsible party. However, any variety of traffic violations moving or non-moving can result in partial fault for the victim.
That means that if the police showed up and one of your brake lights was out (and not damaged), you could be at partial fault. Additionally, if a police officer saw that you were sitting at the intersection texting and not paying attention, you could have partial fault. Fault is not exclusively assigned to the person who caused the crash. Instead, it relies on a combination of violating basic traffic law and negligence of the duty of care to other drivers and people on the road.
If, when an officer is conducting their investigation, they find anything that could put you in a mildly negligent position, their notes on that a report could lead to the insurance company placing you at partial fault. This situation calls for a lot of “could” and “possibly” statements because it comes down to what the police officer reports and then your word versus the word of the other driver.
With the contributory fault a system, you are able to recover the damages for which you’re not responsible. So in an example, if you are responsible for 20% of the crash damages, you would be able to recover the remaining 80%.
Can You Fight Fault?
Yes, you absolutely can fight a fault percentage, and as the victim of a rear end collision, you have a solid foundation. Even if the other driver claims that you seem to be looking down into your lap, there’s no proof that you were distracted or on your phone. Even if you were changing the radio station, there is no proof that this small action led to the crash in any way.
If you choose to work with a Toledo OH attorney, you should discuss with them anything that might lead to a partial fault assignment. If the other driver got out of the car and acted like you had done something wrong, make sure you communicate that issue.
Contacting Ohio Car Accident Attorneys for Help
Reaching out to your local attorney isn’t something that you planned on doing. But, you probably didn’t plan on getting hit from behind, and you certainly didn’t plan to be told that it was your fault. However, with a skilled attorney who has extensive experience in talking down fault percentage, you can get through this. It’s even possible that you could walk away with more compensation than you initially planned.
You can get help from a Toledo, Ohio attorney at Ohio Car Accident Lawyers. We will do everything possible to help you showcase how you are the victim of this crash and that you deserve compensation for all of your damages.