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Car accidents can take only a few seconds to happen, but the fallout from them can last for months or years afterward. They’re often not simple situations, and it’s not uncommon for fault to belong to more than one person involved. Fortunately, the law takes this into account when it comes to personal injury claims.

If you are partially at fault for your accident, you should understand how that could affect your claim before submitting one. Sometimes being partially at fault can create more negative impacts than beneficial ones if you try to obtain compensation from another driver’s insurance company. Here’s a rundown of the different ways partial fault works in personal injury claims.


When someone acts in a way that puts other people in danger, and a crash results from that careless behavior, it is called negligence. Negligence is used to determine who pays for any damages and injuries those involved received. It frequently does not belong to a single person, though some states may treat it that way, or treat it as if no one is guilty.

Contributory Negligence 

If you live in a state that has contributory negligence and you were partially at-fault for the crash, talk to an attorney to see if it’s worth filing a claim against the other driver. Usually, contributory negligence states do not allow you to receive compensation from another’s insurance, even if they were mostly responsible for the accident.

Comparative Negligence 

This type of negligence takes all fault into account and balances it out. If you were 30% responsible for the accident and the other person was 70% responsible, then you would receive 70% of the damages from their insurance.

Modified Comparative Negligence 

This is a combination of contributory and comparative negligence. Instead of getting a percentage of the payment, or none at all, those who are less than 50% responsible for the accident can seek damages from the other person. If you were more than half responsible for the accident, you simply cannot make a claim against the other driver’s insurance.

Check your state laws to see what form of negligence they use. Consider contacting a lawyer, like a personal injury attorney, at the Morales Law Firm, if you are unclear about the terms of your fault. You may have missed a key piece of evidence in your case that helps determine fault that they can spot. Fighting for a claim can be a time-consuming process, so you want to make sure you have a fair shot of winning it before you dive in.

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