Motor vehicle accidents aren't always black and white. Sometimes there is one at-fault party, and other times more than one driver is to blame. This is known as a shared-fault accident. Attorneys representing insurance companies or the deemed at-fault party will often work hard to find accident victims at least partially at-fault to prevent their client from having to cover the entire cost of the accident. If you've found yourself in this type of scenario, it's important you know how to protect yourself.
What Is Shared Fault?
The first step in protecting yourself is knowing what shared fault is. In the simplest of terms, this is an accident in which one party cannot take all the blame. An example of this could be a scenario where you are rear-ended by a driver who wasn't paying attention. If you failed to keep ample space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you, you may be partially to blame for the fact that you caused rear damage to the car in front of you upon impact from the other vehicle.
In this type of accident, both the driver of the vehicle behind you and yourself are considered to have shared fault for the accident. However, unless you played a role in the accident, you should not be sharing responsibility.
Speak With Caution
Avoiding a false claim of shared fault is sometimes as simple as being careful what you say. Words recorded in a statement about an accident can be twisted in any direction. When someone is trying to place shared fault on you, what you say can be especially incriminating. Don't be dishonest, but save a thorough account of what took place for your attorney.
With you're dealing with the other driver's insurance company or attorneys, they might also ask a question designed to place at least some of the blame on you. For example, an attorney representing the other driver or insurance company might ask you if you happen to be fiddling with your radio around the time the accident took place. If you say yes, a wise attorney can take this little piece of information and use it against you to solidify a claim of shared fault because of the distraction caused by adjusting your radio.
In any accident, coming to a settlement can be challenging, but in accidents where shared fault is being pushed, coming to an agreement can be especially complex. For this reason, it's important to have an attorney represent you so that you aren't falsely accused.
To learn more about legal representation after a motor vehicle accident, get in touch with lawyers at a firm like Shaevitz Shaevitz & Kotzamanis.