Understanding Automobile Accidents Injury Settlements
If you have the misfortune to be involved in a car accident, you will very quickly learn the ropes of how filing for insurance claims and settlements works out, one way or the other. The process is actually deceptively innocuous. You turn in a claim to the insurance company, they determine your share of the accident blame using the applicable law for your own state where the accident happened, and then they offer you a settlement in lieu of your damaged car and medical injuries. It sounds so innocent and easy, doesn’t it?
Never underestimate the abilities of insurance companies to throw sand in your eyes and take advantage of you in order to make a few extra bucks, though. When the dust settles, the insurance company will either outright reject your claims entirely or propose a counter settlement amount that is at a generally far lower dollar amount that what you personally feel is fair and right. They do this entirely within the confines of your state laws, which is the saddest part of the whole sordid affair. Nothing hurts more than being legally screwed over.
Deciding Blame to Determine the Settlement in an Automobile Accident
To make matters more complicated and play better into the evil insurance conglomerates’ hands, there are three conflicting systems for determining what percentage of a claim an insurance company is even required to pay you. The first of these is Pure Comparative Negligence, and it has two variations observed by different states.
Pure Comparative Negligence the 100% Type
Under this system, you can recover a portion of the damages that affected your vehicle based on the level of your relevant responsibility in the accident. Insurance companies will simply subtract away damage percentages that you are responsible for then cut you a check. With a 30% share of the accident blame, the insurance company will deduct 30% of your total damages. Thirteen states recognize this Pure Comparative Fault Rule.
Modified Comparative Negligence the 50% Rule
The more broadly applied version of the law is this 50% rule. It allows you to receive compensation off of the insurance companies in any case where they rule you to be responsible for less than a certain predetermined percentage of the responsibility. Thirty-eight different states, the comfortable majority of them in fact, now play by these rules, though they make it more complicated by splitting along lines in two different variations on it.
The first is the 50% bar, where you simply can not collect any insurance settlement if you bear greater than 50% of the supposed blame in the accident. The payout then reduces by the percentage of fault that you bear for the crash. Twelve different states accept this 50% bar ruling.
In the alternative 51% bar, you get nothing if you are held liable for more than 50% of the accident fault. Again the percentage of assigned blame determines who much less percentage-wise you will receive. Twenty-one different states adhere to this 51% bar law.
The Blame Game and How It Can Wreck the Settlement on an Automobile Accident
The worst thing that can happen is to suffer an accident in one of the several states still utilizing the antiquated and ancient contributory negligence system. In this case, it is entirely possible that you are unable to recover any monies off of the insurance company when your negligence is blamed for causing the car accident itself. This law declares that when you contributed to the crash, regardless of how little, you are disallowed to recovery or any compensatory money whatsoever. This is a severely enforced law, meaning that you must demonstrate conclusively that you bore no blame for the collision. Only five states nowadays adhere to the pure contributory negligence law.
Ways That Fault Alters Your Car Accident Settlement
This fault of accident determination is actually the ultimate basis for the greedy insurance company settlement, yet it does not have to become the binding by law resolution in such a disagreement. Should you decide to fight the insurance company’s car accident determination, and attempt to negotiate with them or alternatively file some sort of lawsuit to receive the damages that are yours by right, then you will want to discuss your case with a lawyer before you commence any sort of legal action.