What Happens If I Was Injured in a Car Accident That Was Partly My Fault?

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If you were partly at fault for an accident that injured you, do you automatically lose your personal injury claim? The answer is “not necessarily.” Although in a few US states you would probably lose your claim if you were even one percent at fault, Kentucky is not one of those states. Following is an explanation of the way Kentucky handles shared fault auto accidents.

No-Fault Auto Insurance

Under Kentucky’s “no-fault” auto accident liability system, you cannot sue the other driver or file a claim against his liability insurance policy, no matter whose fault the accident was, unless one of two exceptions applies:

  • You opted out of the no-fault system when you purchased your insurance policy. Unless you specifically opted out, then you “opted in” by default.
  • Your injuries were serious enough to allow you to exit the no-fault system. Kentucky applies specific rules to this determination.

How Comparative Fault Works

If your claim does not fall within “no-fault” limitations, and if you and the other party shared fault for the accident, the issue in court (and at the settlement table) will be exactly how fault should be apportioned on a percentage basis. Theoretically, you can recover at least something, no matter how small a percentage the other party’ fault represented, as long as it was above zero.

The system works like this: Once the parties’ percentages of fault have been calculated (based on evidence submitted), an amount will be subtracted from each party’s recovery that corresponds to his own percentage of fault. If you suffered $100,000 in damages, for example, and you were 30 percent at fault, you will lose $30,000 and you will be entitled to the remainder, $70,000. Likewise, if you were 99 percent at fault, your recovery would be $1,000.

A potential problem arises when you consider the other party’s damages compared to your own. Suppose, for example, that you were 70 percent at fault, your damages were $100,000, and you were therefore entitled to $30,000. Suppose further that the other party was 30 percent at fault on $100,000 in damages, and he is therefore entitled to $70,000. His $30,000 debt to you will be offset against your $70,000 liability, leaving you with a net loss of $40,000.

Suppose the accident happened because other driver was driving at night without his lights on while you ran a stop sign. What are the respective percentages of fault? The calculation of percentage of fault is not intuitively obvious — and consequently, a good personal injury lawyer could make a tremendous difference in the outcome of your claim.

The Clock is Ticking…

When both parties are at fault and only one of them is represented by a lawyer, the unrepresented party faces a major disadvantage. If you have been injured in a car accident, contact the Kentucky car accident lawyers at Glenn Martin Hammond Law Office, PLLC by calling (866) 448-7777 or by filling out our online intake form to schedule a free case consultation. We serve clients throughout Lexington including Cardinal Valley, Chevy Chase, Zandale and elsewhere.

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