Anselmi Mierzejewski Ruth & Sowle P.C. | A-M Law | Attorneys | Counselors

Anselmi Mierzejewski Ruth & Sowle P.C.

Insurance Defense Counsel In Jurisdictions Throughout Michigan

When the responsibility for the accident is shared by the plaintiff

On Behalf of | Mar 3, 2022 | Vehicle Accident Defense

Motor vehicle collisions occur for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes, a terrible Michigan winter storm will leave the streets so slippery that the police agree it was the weather and not any one driver’s mistake that caused the crash.

However, most of the time, it is one person’s fault that a collision occurs. They might have had their phone in their hands instead of keeping their eyes on the road. It may have gotten behind the wheel after drinking too much or performed an illegal maneuver on the road.

When one person is at fault for the crash, the other driver could potentially take them to court or make a claim against their insurance. What happens when the plaintiff is partially responsible for the accident?

Michigan has a modified comparative fault law

Negligence and fault are not absolute in a crash. Sometimes, rather than one driver being 100% to blame for a collision, they are partially at fault. The other driver could have done something that contributed to the crash, like not using their turn signal or not coming to a full stop at an intersection.

If an individual or insurance company defending against a claim believes the plaintiff is partially at fault, they need evidence to support that belief. If they convince the courts that the plaintiff is partially responsible, the courts will assign a percentage of responsibility to the plaintiff, which is their comparative fault for the wreck.

If that percentage is higher than the percentage of fault for the defendant, they will lose some of their rights to seek damages. Being partially responsible for a crash eliminates the right to claim non-economic damages. It also means that the courts will reduce the compensation they award to the plaintiff by their percentage of comparative fault for the collision.

How do you prove comparative fault?

Traffic cameras and witness statements can be important evidence for those defending against a claim. Proving comparative fault requires documentation of what occurred during or before a collision. Everything from private security camera footage to statements by nearby witnesses could help build a case to defend against a large claim.

Understanding the rules that apply after motor vehicle collisions can help those facing sizable claims from another party.