Immediately after a car crash, you and the other party involved will have to call for medical care and police officers to come write up a report about the collision. The role of the officers will be to investigate the cause of the crash and author an official police report about what occurred.
Typically, officers will assign fault to one of the drivers involved in the collision. A finding of fault makes it easier for the other party to file an insurance claim and otherwise seek compensation for injuries they suffer and property damage they incur.
If you find yourself in a situation where you need to bring a personal injury lawsuit against another driver because of a crash, it’s possible that their defense against your lawsuit could involve claims of proportionate responsibility.
What is proportionate responsibility?
As you can probably guess from the phrase itself, proportionate responsibility involves the portion of responsibility for the outcome that each driver has. In some cases, it is obvious that one driver has 100% of the responsibilities, such as a situation where a drunk driver slams into someone or a driver texting at the wheel runs the red light. Other times, it’s possible that both parties may have played a role. Maybe one driver was drunk, but the other one forgot to use their turn signal.
The defendant in a personal injury lawsuit can claim proportionate responsibility on the part of the plaintiff. The defendant using claims of proportionate responsibility to avoid liability will have the burden of proof in this situation. The courts will then have to determine the percentage of fault or responsibility that falls to the plaintiff.
How will proportionate responsibility impact your claim?
The good news is that as long as your percentage of responsibility is less than 50%, you still have the right to pursue compensation. The bad news is that the courts will reduce the amount that they award you based on the amount of responsibility you bear.
A thorough investigation into the crash could help you push back against claims of proportionate responsibility by the driver who is responsible for a crash that left you with injuries and serious property damage.