If you are involved in a car accident that is someone else’s fault, you may be entitled to financial compensation for the resulting economic and non-economic damages. However, not all car accidents are straightforward. Sometimes, determining liability can be tricky business, especially if both parties somehow contributed to the accident.
Fortunately, each state has a statute that the court uses to determine fault. In Missouri, the court uses the doctrine of pure comparative negligence to determine liability and, thus, what the plaintiff can recover during a car accident lawsuit.
What is pure comparative negligence?
Per pure comparative negligence doctrine, your damages will be reduced based on your contribution to the accident. In other words, each party is responsible for their own degree of negligence.
Thus, even if you were 99% responsible for the accident, this doctrine still allows you to seek damages for the 1% contribution from the other party.
For example, imagine John (who was driving in front of you) suddenly slammed their brakes without alerting you leading to a rear-end collision. Consequently, you sued John for personal injuries and property. During the trial, however, the court established that you did not leave a safe distance between you and John. You were tailgating. As a result, the court found you 20% responsible for rear-end crash.
Based on the synopsis above, your compensation amount will be reduced by 20% per Missouri pure comparative negligence laws. Thus, if the court awards $100,000 in damages, you will receive $80,000.
Protecting your rights
Almost all car wrecks have an element of negligence. Learning how Missouri negligence laws work can help you safeguard your rights and interests while pursuing damages following a crash.