A common tactic insurance companies like to use in motor vehicle accidents is blaming the victim. In some states, if the accident victim is partially to blame for the accident, he or she is unable to recover any damages from the other driver. Thankfully, Kentucky does not operate under this legal theory.
Pure Contributory Negligence vs. Pure Comparative Negligence
It is important to understand the role negligence plays in a motor vehicle accident claim. To recover compensation for damages in a motor vehicle accident claim, you must prove the other driver caused the collision, and you suffered compensable damages because of the collision. Therefore, proving who is at fault in a car accident case is crucial.
In some cases, it is clear that one driver is 100 percent at fault for the collision. However, in some crashes, both drivers may be at fault. Insurance companies work to reduce the amount of compensation they must pay to settle an accident claim. Fault is one area insurance companies target when investigating an accident claim. In some states, if the insurance company can prove the victim was just one percent at fault, the victim cannot recover any damages from the other driver.
Pure Contributory Negligence
In a pure contributory negligence state, the accident victim must be completely free of blame to recover compensation from the other driver. This is by far the worst situation for an accident victim. If the insurance company can prove the victim was speeding at the time of the accident or was using a cell phone at the time of the collision, the accident victim is barred from recovering any compensation. In an accident with substantial damages, this could be devastating for the victim and his or her family. Fortunately, Kentucky follows a pure comparative negligence theory for car accidents.
Pure Comparative Negligence
Kentucky is a pure comparative negligence state. In a pure comparative negligence state, the accident victim can be partially at fault for the collision and still recover damages from the other driver. For example, if a driver turns left in front of you causing a collision, you may be entitled to recover a portion of your damages even if you were speeding at the time of the collision.
The insurance company for the other driver will argue that you were partially at fault because you were speeding; therefore, you should not recover 100 percent of your damages. If a jury or judge agrees with the insurance company, you receive a percentage of fault. That percentage of fault reduces your compensation for the accident claim. In other words, if your damages are $100,000 but you are 10 percent at fault for the crash, you only receive $90,000 (the total damages less 10 percent).
Recovering Damages For A Motor Vehicle Accident In Kentucky
Because Kentucky is a pure comparative negligence state, you can be 99 percent at fault for a crash and still recover one percent of your damages from the other driver. However, it may not be worth the time and cost of filing a lawsuit to collect one percent of your damages. It is worth your time to consult with a Louisville car accident attorney after an accident, regardless of whether you believe you are at fault.
It is always in your best interest to know the facts before you make any decisions about how to handle your accident claim. Furthermore, the insurance company for the other driver has a team of professionals working to reduce the company’s liability. You deserve to have a legal team on your side working for your best interest.
Before you discuss your claim with the insurance company or make any decisions how to proceed with an accident claim, discuss your case with a Louisville car accident attorney. Contact the Shelton Law Group by calling 1-888-761-7204 or by using our online contact form to schedule a free legal consultation and case evaluation with one of our experienced Louisville car accident attorneys.