Car Accident Fault

What if other driver and I are partially at fault?

In a car accident with damages and/or personal injury, determining who was at fault for the accident is critical to decide who will pay how much. This is also known as determining negligence. There are two basic ways to assess negligence: comparative negligence and contributory negligence. In a contributory negligence state, if you are at all at fault for the accident, even 1%, you can be barred from recovering damages.

Oregon has a comparative negligence standard that applies in car accidents with injuries. This means that if you have been injured and/or suffer property damages, you can still be compensated even if you were partially responsible for the accident. According to the state’s modified comparative negligence standard, your damages will be reduced in proportion to the degree that you were at fault for the accident. For instance, if you were 10% responsible for a car accident at a traffic light and the other driver was 90% at fault, you can file suit, but your award will be reduced by 10%.

Oregon’s version of this type of negligence is modified. It means that you only can recover damages if you are 50% or less responsible for the accident. If you are 51% or more responsible, you cannot recover damages for the car accident.

But it is important to remember that determining how much one party was negligent for a car accident can be notoriously tricky. If you are in a car accident and have injuries or damages, it is important to be represented by a skilled personal injury attorney. Having an accurate determination of how much you are at fault in the accident can make a huge difference in the amount of compensation you receive.

To determine who was at fault for an accident, you as the plaintiff have to show that the other person caused the accident or was at least partially responsible. There are some types of common car accidents that are nearly always the fault of the other driver. This is referred to as no doubt liability. Most no doubt liability cases are difficult to argue against and may result in a quick settlement.

Some of the common types of no doubt liability cases are:

  • Rear-end crash: If a driver hits you from behind, it is almost always his fault, unless your turn signal was not working or brake lights were out. In this case, a comparative negligence standard could work against you.
  • Left turn accident: If you are going straight in Oregon and a car from the other direction turns left in front of you, it is almost always that driver’s fault, unless you were driving faster than the speed limit or you went through a red light.
  • Drunk driving crash: It is illegal to drive drunk in all states. If the other driver was drinking and hit you, it will nearly always be that driver who is found at fault.