It is possible for the victim of a car crash to also be partially at fault. There are a variety of negligent actions that could make a victim partially to blame for what happened.
However, there are also invalid reasons for assigning fault to the victim of a crash. Insurance companies may try to mislead you into thinking you are partially at fault when the reason they are giving has nothing to do with the cause of the accident.
It is important to educate yourself on common reasons crash victims may be partially to blame for a crash. That way, you are more likely to realize when an insurance company is trying to mislead you and convince you that you are to blame when you may not be.
Learn more about partial fault for car crashes and why you should discuss the situation with an experienced attorney. You do not want to rely on what the insurance company is telling you, because they have a vested interest in denying or underpaying your claim. They are going to look for any reason to do those things.
Valid Reasons to Assign Partial Fault for a Car Crash
There are many reasons why the victim of a car crash could be partially to blame. If you broke the law and operated your vehicle in a negligent manner, the accident may be partially your fault.
For example, in a rear-end crash, the driver of the car that was rear-ended may have stopped for no reason. Even if the rear vehicle was following the other too closely, the lead driver may be partially to blame because he or she stopped for no reason.
If one of your taillights was broken and this contributed to another driving rear-ending your car, you may be partially at fault for not fixing the broken taillight. The other driver may have a strong claim for assigning you partial fault if you knew about the broken taillight. For example, maybe you were cited by the police for a broken taillight before the crash happened.
If you cut another driver off, but that driver was speeding, it could be argued you are both to blame for the crash. You were both acting with negligence.
If you were cited for a traffic violation along with the other driver, you both may be at fault. However, it is important to note it depends on the type of traffic violation. If the violation is unrelated to the cause of the crash, it probably does not establish a driver’s negligence.
If you were in a parking lot and speeding through a lane between spots, and another car backed out and hit yours, you may share fault for the crash. You were speeding, which is at least partially why the crash happened. However, the other driver should have waited to start pulling out of the parking spot.
Even if you think you may be at fault, it is important to keep that to yourself. Discuss it with a Lafayette-based car crash attorney, as crash victims are often wrong about their role in an accident. You may be partially at fault, but the insurance company is going to want to assign you much more fault than you may deserve.
How Insurers May Wrongly Assign Fault
Car insurance companies are looking for any reason to minimize their liability for a crash. That means they will look for some way to assign you fault for a crash. Louisiana has a comparative fault law that can be used to reduce your compensation for a crash if you are partially at fault.
The problem is that insurance companies like to mislead victims into thinking they are partially to blame for reasons that have nothing to do with the cause of the accident. If something has nothing to do with the cause of a crash, it probably cannot be used to assign fault.
Failure to Wear a Seat Belt
It can certainly be argued a crash victim’s injuries were made worse by failing to wear a seat belt. This is negligent behavior. There is plenty of data to suggest wearing a seat belt is important because it can dramatically lower the risk of death and serious injury in a crash.
However, not wearing a seat belt is unrelated to the cause of a crash. Drivers do not speed or text and drive because a driver in another car is not wearing a seat belt. Another driver’s negligence is not caused by your failure to wear a seat belt.
However, Louisiana does allow defendants to use evidence of not wearing a seat belt as evidence of comparative negligence. Even though the law refers to court cases, insurance companies may bring it up after you file a claim. Under state law, the value of your claim can be reduced by your percentage of fault.
It is still important not to assume your claim is invalid because you were not wearing a seat belt. Call an experienced attorney to discuss the situation.
Expired Driver’s License or License Plate
You could certainly face penalties for driving with an expired license and/or expired tag. However, these two things have nothing to do with the cause of the crash.
It is important to note that some insurance policies void coverage if the policyholder was driving with an expired license. That said, be sure to review the specific terms of your policy. It is possible coverage would only be voided if you had an expired license when you purchased the policy. If you purchased the policy and your license later expired, your policy may still be valid.
However, most crash claims are filed against the insurance policy of the at-fault driver. You may not need to file a claim against your own policy.
Call Galloway Jefcoat to Discuss Your Legal Options
One of the most important steps to take after a personal injury is to talk to a licensed attorney. You need a straightforward assessment of your possible legal options from someone committed to your best interests.
At Galloway Jefcoat, we have been helping crash victims recover compensation for decades, all at no upfront cost. That means talking to us about your situation is risk-free and you are not obligated to hire our firm after the meeting.
We are here to help victims secure compensation. Call (337) 984-8020.