Split Liability In Motor Vehicle Accidents
Sometimes fault in a motor vehicle accident is clear. A distracted driver speeds through a stop sign and hits an innocent driver who had the right of way and no time to react. The distracted driver is 100% at fault. The innocent driver is entitled to sue the at fault driver and recover all of his or her damages/losses from the distracted driver’s insurer.
Sometimes, both drivers are at fault. A driver makes a left hand turn on a yellow light into the path of a vehicle that was driving 20 km per hour over the speed limit. The left turning driver is at fault for making an unsafe turn. The through driver is negligent for speeding. In a situation like this fault is divided between the parties on the basis of who the judge or jury thinks more blameworthy. It can be divided 75-25, 50-50 or by any other allocation. If the speeding driver is found to be 25% at fault, he is only entitled to recover 75% of his damages against the insurer for the left turning vehicle.
In some cases, a driver who may initially seem innocent can be found to be at fault. Two cars approach each other on a two lane road. One of the cars drifts over the centerline causing a head-on collision. While the driver of the car that was hit might seem like an innocent victim, our law will examine whether he or she could have taken reasonable steps to avoid the collision. If the otherwise innocent driver failed to take reasonable evasive steps, he or she may be found to be at fault to a minor degree.
If you or a loved one is seriously injured in a motor vehicle collision it is essential that a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer be hired at the earliest possible stage. The best time to gather the evidence about who is at fault is in the early days following an accident when skid marks and damaged vehicles are still available for inspection.
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