Can You Claim Compensation if an Accident Was Your Fault?
Posted on Monday, August 1st, 2022 at 4:54 pm
If you were injured in a car accident in Ohio or Kentucky, and the accident was caused solely by someone else, you have options for obtaining compensation. However, if you were solely or partially responsible for the accident, you need to understand your options for getting compensation for your injuries, property damage, and other losses.
Obtaining Compensation if You Were at Fault
If you were the only driver involved in the crash, and the crash was not caused by a defective component in your car, you will be unable to pursue compensation against any other parties. You will have to work with your own insurance company, and they should cover the costs related to your accident and injury as defined by your policy and the coverage you have. You should realize, however, that any passengers in your car who also suffered injuries in the accident may file claims against you for damages.
If you can prove that a part on your car failed due to a manufacturing or design defect, and this defect led you to lose control of your car and crash, you have options for obtaining compensation by filing suit against the manufacturer, designer, and other parties who had a role in creating the product.
In cases where another driver was involved, and both of you share some responsibility for the accident, you may have options for obtaining compensation, but you need to understand the rules regarding comparative negligence. Ohio and Kentucky each have their own rules regarding comparative negligence, so your chances of obtaining compensation will differ depending on which state the accident occurred.
Comparative Negligence in Ohio and Kentucky
Both Ohio and Kentucky recognize comparative negligence in tort claims. Although both states allow plaintiffs to recover damages if they were partially at fault, there are major differences in the percentage of fault the court allows for plaintiffs seeking damages.
Ohio: Section 2315.33 of Ohio’s revised code dictates that the state allows a plaintiff to recover damages for the harm another person caused, but the plaintiff’s level of fault in the accident must not be more than the fault of all other parties involved.
In simple terms, this means that if it’s determined you were more than 50 percent responsible for an accident in Ohio, you will not be allowed to seek damages. Furthermore, the court will adjust or reduce the amount of compensation you will receive that is “proportionately equal” to your level of fault. If it’s determined you were 20 percent responsible for the accident, for instance, and you have $10,000 in compensable losses, the court will only award you $8,000, or 80 percent.
Kentucky: Kentucky is one of a handful of states that follow a pure comparative negligence rule. In Kentucky, you can seek compensation after an accident even if you bear more responsibility for the accident than the defendant. This means that even if you are found to have been 90 percent responsible for the crash, you can still seek compensation from the other party.
The court will award you only your portion of compensation as defined by your level of fault. For instance, if you have $10,000 in compensable losses and are deemed to be 90 percent at fault, the court will only award you $1,000, or ten percent.
If an accident occurred in Ohio, police must be notified if there were injuries or fatalities or more than $1,000 in property damage. The same holds true in Kentucky, except that you must notify police when there’s property damage of $500 or more.
Your accident report will contain the official police record of your crash, and officers will often indicate who was responsible for the accident. However, unless the officer saw the accident happen, they must rely on driver and witness accounts to determine what occurred. They may also rely on an accident reconstructionist’s evaluation. As a result, their account of who was at fault might be different from your recollection of the accident.
The other party’s insurance company, or the court, if the case goes to trial, will scrutinize the accident report, and the defendant will try to use anything they find in the report as an opportunity to prove your liability for the crash.
It is very important that you don’t say anything at an accident scene that would express or even imply that you were at fault. You should contact an attorney immediately for advice before speaking to anyone, even the police.
If you were in a car accident in Kentucky or Ohio, and you were partially at fault for the crash, you can contact the personal injury attorneys of Lawrence & Associates Accident and Injury Lawyers, LLC for a detailed explanation of your rights and options. Call our team today at (513) 351-5997 to request a free consultation. Our results speak for themselves.