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If I Was Partially At Fault for My Injury, Can I Still File a Claim?

Posted in Car Accidents on December 23, 2021

Serious accidents are rarely straightforward. Devastating injuries can have life-long consequences, property damage may be extensive, and liability may be debatable. 

In some cases, you may be partially at fault for your car accident. While there is a vast difference between being at fault and only partially responsible, the implications can significantly affect your right to file a claim. 

When negligence can be shared between both motor vehicle drivers, it is important that you know your rights. 

What is Shared Fault or Modified Comparative Negligence in Louisiana?

When you are injured in an accident involving negligence determining fault is critical. Every state differs slightly on tort liability. In Louisiana, the law upholds a modified comparative negligence rule or the shared fault rule.

In a modified comparative negligence state, when a person is harmed in an accident, liability can be assigned to “all persons causing or contributing to the injury, death, or loss.” Fault is then expressed as a percentage:

  • For example, suppose a store clerk failed to put the “caution, wet floor” sign over a spill. Two teenage customers began racing their shopping carts through the aisles when one slipped and fell in the puddle, breaking her arm. 
  • In this case, the store clerk can be held liable for the lack of appropriate signage, and the teenagers can be held liable for not conducting themselves in a safe and reasonable manner. A court may find the store clerk 60% at fault for the accident and the teenage girl 40% at fault for her broken arm. 

Under modified comparative negligence, the teenager is able to file a claim for compensation as long as she is less than 50% responsible for her injuries. Her settlement will also be determined by her percentage of fault:

  • Suppose the teenager files a personal injury claim against the store and receives a $100,000 settlement offer. Since she was 40% at fault, her settlement will be reduced by 40% ($100,000 – $40,000 = $60,000).

If you are partially at fault for your injuries, you can still file a claim to recover the damages you deserve. 

Could the Insurance Company Still Deny My Claim if I am Partially At-Fault for My Injury?

While you may be partially at fault for your injuries, many factors will determine the percentage of fault and if you can recover damages. A skilled personal injury attorney can help you navigate the complexities of the claims process and prevent you from making common mistakes that can damage your case.

The insurance company will base the degree of fault on the circumstances of the accident and will usually call the injured party almost immediately following the incident. Important factors in the decision will include:

  • The police report from the scene as it serves as a non-bias view
  • Any photos of the property damage or visible injuries sustained in the accident
  • Witness testimony
  • The social media accounts of all those involved in the accident
  • Review recorded statements, if available
  • Interview with the insurance adjuster

However, insurance companies are motivated by profit. It is in their best interests to minimize any possible payout or find grounds to deny your claim altogether.  Some of the biggest mistakes injury victims make that hurt their case include:

  • Apologizing

Can be used as an admission of fault

  • Signing a medical release

Could be used to argue your injuries are preexisting

  • Saying you are ok or discussing your injuries

May be used to minimize your actual injuries

  • Names and contact information

Including family, friends, or those involved at the scene

  • Allowing yourself to be recorded

Anything you say may be twisted and used against you

  • The phrase “I think:” 

Never speculate or try to guess and only answer factual questions

  • The term “whiplash:” 

It has been overused and now serves as a red flag to insurance agents

  • Accepting a quick settlement: 

Quick settlements are usually offered far below your case value used to entice victims into accepting a small payout in return for fast money

  • Unnecessary details

When anything you say can potentially be used against you, never volunteer information

An insurance adjuster will try to find anything that can be used to put a greater share of fault on you to minimize your settlement or deny your claim. 

The best way to protect yourself is with qualified representation. 

How Will a New Orleans Personal Injury Attorney Determine Fault? 

At the Law Office of John W. Redmann, LLC, our Louisiana personal injury lawyers have the experience and skill you need to protect the integrity of your claim. We will:

  • Advise you of your right to remain silent and help you avoid costly statements that can be misconstrued
  • Fully investigate your claim, including interviewing witnesses, obtaining the police report, pictures, or video
  • Gather critical evidence that establishes liability and strengthens your claim
  • Take control of communication with the insurance company and negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf
  • Reconstruct the collision to demonstrate true liability and minimize your at-fault percentage

When you are seriously hurt in a negligent accident, we understand that you need someone to look out for your best interests. Our knowledgeable attorneys will help you protect your right to recover damages. 

Why Should I Work with Our Personal Injury Attorneys in New Orleans, Louisiana?

Choosing an attorney for your claim is a very personal decision. You deserve to have someone in your corner who will guide you through the process and provide responsive communication. At the Law Office of John W. Redmann, LLC, we have a long track record of achieving higher-than-expected results for our clients. 

Our New Orleans personal injury lawyers will fight to recover damages for your injuries, including:

Every case is different. Schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today by calling (504) 500-5000.