Accident scenes can be incredibly jarring and disorienting. It is often difficult to think straight immediately after a car crash or a pedestrian collision, particularly if you have suffered serious injuries that require immediate medical attention. Given the chaotic aftermath of an accident, you might not know exactly how the accident happened or whether you are partially at fault for the collision. You might even suspect that your own rushed driving, or your decision to glide through a stop sign, could have been a major cause of the collision even though the other driver was texting or was intoxicated. Accordingly, you may be asking yourself: What should I do if I think I am partially responsible for an accident?
Let me be clear in saying that you should not admit fault. You want to do everything you can to preserve your ability to obtain compensation from the at-fault driver, and the following are steps you should consider taking.
Never Admit Fault or Apologize at the Scene of the Accident
When you are disoriented from a collision, you might have a knee-jerk reaction of apologizing to other people who were involved in the crash, or making a comment like, “I should not have been speeding.” No matter what you do, do not admit fault or apologize at the scene of the accident. Even if another driver is entirely at fault for the accident, that driver may be able to use your exclamation of “I am sorry!” to avoid paying you the compensation you deserve.
Only Give the Facts to the Auto Insurer
You will need to contact your auto insurance company and report the accident as soon as possible after it happens. Even if you plan to file a third-party claim through the other driver’s insurance, or you plan to file a car accident lawsuit against the other driver, you will need to make a report to your own insurance company. When you do, avoid making any subjective statements about the accident, and never suggest that you could be partially at fault. Just offer the facts, and leave any other answers to your lawyer.
Understand How Ohio’s Contributory Fault System Works
You should also understand that, even if you are found partially to blame for an accident, you will not necessarily be barred from obtaining financial compensation. Under Ohio law, a plaintiff is only barred from recovery if she is 51% or more liable. Otherwise, her damages award is diminished by her percentage of fault.
Contact My Office for Help with Your Case
If you have been in an accident and you have sustained serious injuries, it is critical that you avoid admitting fault in any capacity. Even if you think you might have been partially responsible for the accident that caused your injuries, you do not want to do anything that could jeopardize your ability to obtain financial compensation for your losses or encourage the at-fault party to raise the issue of comparative fault.
I can help you file a claim for compensation, and if the other party does suggest that your damages award should be reduced due to comparative fault, I will do everything I can to prove that you are entitled to full compensation. I’ll Make Them Pay!® Call me at 877.614.9524 to learn more about how I can assist you with your case.