A car accident can be scary, stressful and even dangerous. Most often, you never see one coming.
How do you determine who is responsible for what part of the damages after a wreck? Every state is a little different. This is what you need to know:
Missouri is a comparative negligence state
Missouri applies what is known as the comparative negligence doctrine. Basically, this means that you may be entitled to make a claim even if you contributed to the accident in some way. In other words, even if you were 99% at fault for the wreck, you may still be compensated for the 1% fault that the defendant contributed.
Determining fault after the accident
While it may seem straightforward, assigning fault on comparative negligence basis can be the trickiest aspect of a car accident claim, more so when multiple drivers are involved. That being said, here are a couple of ways you can establish fault after a car crash:
- Through admissions of responsibility: Some motorists are so shaken up after a wreck that they simply admit they were to blame. For instance, they may admit to their car’s braking problems or confess that they were distracted by the phone conversation they were having.
- Through police reports: Under Missouri law, you are legally required to report a car accident that results in injury, death or property damage in excess of $500. Once the police arrive at the scene, they will investigate the accident and write a report. Part of this may involve talking to witnesses, looking out for intoxication or determining whether one or more drivers were speeding. A police report can play a crucial role in establishing fault.
Dividing responsibility after a car crash can be complex and messy. Find out how you can safeguard rights and interests while litigating a car accident claim in Missouri.