Car accidents are not always the result of one driver's mistake. Sometimes two or more drivers took actions that caused the accident. How fault for the accidents is determined during personal injury lawsuits is governed by various state laws.
In Louisiana comparative negligence is applied in the determination of fault among injured parties. The rule effectively splits the blame. This means that if someone is 40 percent responsible for the accident, he or she can only potentially recover 60 percent of damages attributed to the accident.
An example of when responsibility for an accident needs to be divided would be when two drivers make misjudgments that cause a crash. A driver might have made a good effort before turning onto a busy road but still technically failed to give the right-of-way to traffic when the accident happened. However, if the car that hit the turning vehicle was speeding, then that driver is also partially at fault because he or she violated a road rule.
In this example, both drivers might sue each other for medical expenses related to their injuries. If one driver seeks $100,000 in damages but his or her negligence is determined to be 30 percent of the cause of the crash, then the damages would be reduced to $70,000.
Decisions in car accidents about who is at fault and by how much can be contentious. Each party has an interest in assigning the most fault to the other party. Sometimes a person turns to an attorney to learn about his or her rights. During a personal injury claim, an attorney might be able to advocate for the person and keep unreasonable levels of fault from being shifted onto him or her.