Utah drivers know that motor vehicle accidents can occur unexpectedly, and many times there is no clear way to determine who or what exactly caused the accident. The unfortunate reality is that sometimes both drivers were at fault, and the question then becomes, who pays for what?
Anyone who has been involved in a motor vehicle accident knows it can be a life-changing event, resulting in catastrophic injuries or permanent disabilities, wage or job loss and debilitating mental and emotional distress. Even if you acknowledge your actions may have played a role in the accident, it is natural to still want compensation for your losses.
What is modified comparative negligence?
Utah takes what is known as a modified comparative negligence approach to situations involving motor vehicle accidents where both parties bear some degree of fault. Modified comparative negligence assigns a percentage of fault for the accident to each person involved.
There are positives and negatives to modified comparative negligence law. The good news is that if a judge or jury determines that you were partially at fault for the accident, that fact alone does not bar you from pursuing compensation for any damages sustained from the accident. However, if it is concluded that your percentage of fault for the accident was 50% or more, you will be barred from recovering any compensation at all.
Deciding who was at fault, and to what degree, is a complicated task. The parties involved in the accident are not likely to agree on the percentage of each person’s fault, so the task will fall to a judge or jury. They will listen to each person’s testimony and decide.
A motor vehicle accident can happen to anyone, especially on today’s busy roadways. Having competent and knowledgeable guidance through the process and learning about your options and potential for success, is imperative.