Can I File a Claim for a Car Accident If I Was At Fault?
Involvement in a car accident can cause injuries that last long after the collision occurs and the property damage has been repaired. Unfortunately, car accidents frequently lead to debilitating personal injury and even death. Personal injuries from a car accident can result not only in long-lasting pain and trauma but also in a lengthy period of treatment and recovery that can cause the most important aspects of one’s life to unravel. People in car accidents often miss substantial periods of work, and may even lose their job or be forced to quit. Others rack up a dizzying amount of medical bills, which can add more stress and uncertainty to a situation that is already immensely stressful. In retrospect, it can feel like the car accident was just the first divot in an ever-widening hole that is swallowing one’s entire life.
You may be in an accident that was someone else’s fault entirely. But for every faultless participant in a crash, there is another driver who is entirely or partially at fault. It is important to be informed about some of the options available to you or a loved one who was partially or completely at fault for an accident. If you want to further discuss the specifics of your potential case, you should contact an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible to help you with your claim.
How Is Fault Proven in a Car Accident?
It is common for the parties in a car accident to have different recollections of how and why the crash occurred. Even when the facts are agreed on, apportioning fault for a crash can be complicated. There are many factors that must be considered, such as whether and to what extent the parties were speeding, whether and to what extent the parties violated basic safety rules, and whose negligence was primarily responsible for the crash.
Ultimately, it is up to a jury to apportion fault for a crash. However, a jury’s decision is based on the evidence and arguments it hears at trial. Therefore, where the cause of the crash is in question, it is critical to hire a lawyer who will do what it takes to prove that the other driver was at fault. This can include locating helpful witnesses, hiring a qualified expert to reconstruct the crash, and effectively communicating your side of the story to the jury.
If you were injured in a crash and are unsure who was primarily at fault, a trusted car accident attorney can even help gather information to help maximize your potential case.
Can I Bring a Lawsuit If I’m Partially Responsible for the Crash?
Most people understand that if they suffer an injury as a result of an accident that was someone else’s fault. Fewer understand, however, that they may be able to bring a claim even if they were partially at fault.
Every state has different rules about when drivers who are partially at fault can bring a lawsuit. Maine is a “modified comparative negligence” state. Under Maine law, a party can bring a claim if she is less than at fault than the defendant. By contrast, if a jury determines that the claimant is equally or more at fault than the defendant driver, the claimant is prohibited from recovering.
This does not mean that a partially at fault driver is necessarily entitled to full compensation. On the contrary, where a jury finds a claimant partially at fault, it is required to reduce their award “to the extent considered just and equitable.” 14 M.R.S. § 156. What does that mean, in plain English? In essence, it means that a jury can reduce the award in any way it believes is fair. However, unlike in some other states, the jury is not supposed to simply determine the percentage of fault belonging to the claimant and deduct that percentage from the total amount of compensation.
If I Am at Fault, Can I Still Get Help with My Medical Bills?
If you are primarily at fault for a car crash, you may not be able to pursue a successful claim against another driver. However, in Maine, all insured drivers have access to medical payment coverage, commonly referred to as “MedPay.” MedPay is provided through your own insurance company to help you pay for medical bills. MedPay is “no-fault,” meaning that you are entitled to access your MedPay whether or not you are responsible for the crash.
How Much Compensation Would I Receive With a Successful Claim?
The amount of compensation you may be able to receive with a successful car accident personal injury claim can depend on various factors. First, and foremost, your potential compensation is dependent on the extent of your damages. Some types of damages—such as medical bills and lost wages—are easily calculable. Other types of damages—such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and permanent impairment—are more difficult to assess.
Second, irrespective of the extent of the damages, a recovery may be limited by the amount of assets available to be recovered. Many drivers do not have enough insurance to fully and fairly compensate the victim of a serious car crash. When the defendant driver is underinsured, your attorney will need to look for other avenues of potential compensation.
Finally, depending on the circumstances surrounding the crash, your compensation may be reduced to account for your partial fault.
There is no fixed amount of compensation that you may be eligible to get. Every car accident case is different. Speak with an experienced Portland, Maine personal injury attorney to get a better understanding of how much compensation you are entitled to.
Do I Need a Personal Injury Attorney?
If you may be partially at fault for your car accident, it is more important than ever to hire a Portland car accident lawyer to help you navigate your case and maximize your recovery. Discussing your best course of action going forward with a knowledgeable auto accident attorney can give you the confidence you need to pursue your claim.
What Is The Best Way to Go About Filing a Claim for a Car Accident?
It can be very difficult to figure out just how much compensation you are entitled to, or if you are entitled to any compensation at all. Often, the insurance company for the other driver will attempt to get you to settle your claim quickly, before you have had an opportunity to understand what you are entitled to under the law. If you have been badly hurt in a car accident, you should strongly consider seeking a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer.
A skilled and experienced Portland, Maine personal injury lawyer can assist you with every aspect of your personal injury claim, from start to finish. The sooner you take action, the sooner you may be able to receive the most compensation for everything you’ve lost.