What is a 50/50 Car Accident Claim?
When a car insurance company investigates a car insurance claim against one of their members, they are hoping to find a way to assign at least 50 percent of the blame to the other driver. It is very common for at least some fault to be assigned to each driver. A 50/50 car insurance claim is when an insurance agency determines that liability – or fault – for the accident is shared equally between the drivers. Even a small mistake made by one of the drivers could cause a 50 percent fault determination; particularly if the accident could have been prevented had the mistake not been made. If it is a 50/50 at-fault accident, and both parties agree on their share of the fault, it is called a split liability agreement. In practical terms, this means that any treatment for injuries or property damage costs will be shared equally between the parties and that the claimant will only be able to collect 50 percent of the value of their claim.
What fault determinations can be made?
When an accident happens and an insurance claim is made, the insurance companies must determine who is at fault. Depending on the laws of the state where the accident happened, fault may be assigned in various ways. Examples include at-fault, not-at-fault, 50/50 fault or a different percentage of fault such as 70/30. This determination will decide who pays for the claim or what portion of the claim.
Often when a determination is made, one or both of the drivers may be frustrated by the outcome. This is partly because they may not understand the laws in their state but also because the allocation of fault may simply seem or actually be unfair.
What is an at-fault vs a not-at-fault accident?
An at-fault accident is an accident where the liable party is determined to be at least 51 percent responsible for the damages and injuries caused by the collision. Conversely, a not-at-fault accident is one where the liable driver is determined to be 49 percent or less to blame for the resulting damages or injuries.
How do state laws affect the determination of fault in a car accident?
State laws have a big effect on the way that fault may be determined in a car accident.
Washington State is a comparative fault state, which means that fault is determined based on contributory fault law. In this system, fault can be shared in a car accident claim. Most states use this system.
In places that use contributory negligence law, it can be difficult to receive compensation if you’re even slightly at fault for the accident. There are only a few jurisdictions that still use contributory negligence law to determine fault in a car accident. These are Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
In no-fault states, drivers carry “first-party” coverage for car accident injuries from their own insurer and fault doesn’t get determined. The Personal Injury Protection policy that drivers in these states are required to have provides money for medical care for basic injuries. States that use this system are Kansas, Utah, Hawaii, Florida North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, New York, and Massachusetts.
Common types of 50/50 at-fault car accidents
There are many scenarios where an accident may be determined to be a 50/50 at-fault accident, such as:
- A driver was hit while making an illegal turn
- A collision happens after both drivers fail to stop properly at a 4-way-stop
- One driver was speeding when they were hit by a driver who made an unexpected lane change
Seek the help of a car accident attorney for a 50/50 Car Accident Claim
If you or a loved one was injured because of the negligence of another, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. Let an experienced car accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!