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Who Determines Fault in a Car Accident?

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One of the most frustrating parts of dealing with a personal injury claim is when an insurance company declares their party isn’t at fault. This can be confusing and frustrating for the injured person – if the insurance company says they aren’t at fault, what options are there? Fortunately, the insurance company is not the ultimate arbiter of fault in these types of cases, a jury is. If you have been injured and the insurance company is denying responsibility, a lawyer can fight to get you the money you deserve.
Determining fault is extremely important because it impacts what award, if any, an injured person can expect to recover. In Michigan, a defendant must be at least 50% responsible for a person’s injuries in order for the plaintiff to recover. The jury award will be pro-rated based on the level of responsibility assigned to the defendant due to these comparative fault laws.

For instance, if a driver rear-ends another, they are generally responsible for the injuries caused to the other driver. But if the injured driver was not wearing a seat belt, the jury might find that they are partially responsible for their injuries. In this case, the jury might assign 80% of the blame to the defendant and 20% to the plaintiff with a $100,000 award. The plaintiff would receive $80,000 (80% times $100,000). There is no formula for a jury to decide exactly how to assign blame in car accidents, so this percentage will ultimately be based on the unique facts of your particular case.

A personal injury lawyer will argue on your behalf, working to minimize any responsibility you may be responsible for in an accident. In some cases, the jury might find that the defendant is 100% responsible for the injuries and the plaintiff gets to keep everything. In other cases, the responsibility might be more difficult to discern. An attorney can help explain just why a defendant is responsible for a particular set of injuries and work to achieve the best results possible for their clients.

If you have been injured in an accident and the insurance company is denying responsibility, you have options. Contact Davis Law Center right away for a free consultation to discuss your accident.

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