What if the Other Driver Denies Liability?
According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, traffic fatalities are rising. The Missouri State Highway Patrol reports 989 fatalities so far in 2021. More than 90% of the accidents resulted from negligent driving behavior such as speeding, driving while impaired, or distracted driving.
If you sustain injuries in a car accident in Missouri because of another driver’s negligence, you have the right to pursue compensatory damages through a personal injury lawsuit. Working with a skilled team of St. Louis car accident lawyers can help you win the compensation you deserve by disputing any denial of liability the other driver tries to claim in court.
Missouri’s car accident laws fall under the statutes of pure comparative fault, otherwise called pure comparative negligence. When a car accident occurs, there are several possibilities as to who is at fault.
In some cases, one driver is solely responsible for causing the accident, but in other cases, the accident is the partial fault of both drivers. In Missouri, the pure comparative fault rule allows claimants to pursue financial recovery no matter their role in the accident, although your compensation will be reduced based on your degree of fault.
Consider a case where you are injured in a car accident and pursue compensation. You win $100,000 in a lawsuit; however, the legal proceedings determine that you are 20% at fault for the collision. According to Missouri’s pure comparative fault law, your award will be reduced by the same amount as your degree of fault (20%) so you will actually only receive $80,000.
Under “pure” comparative fault, you can also file a claim if you are more than 50% responsible for the accident. This sets Missouri apart from other states with a comparative fault law that don’t allow you to get any compensation if you are the majority at fault. So in Missouri, if you file a claim and win $100,000 in damages, but the jury finds that you are 80% at fault, you would receive $20,000, because your award would be reduced by 80%.
Pure comparative fault is beneficial to claimants because it allows you to file a claim even if you are more than 50% responsible for an accident. However, it poses complex challenges to those seeking compensation for injuries they did not cause. The pure comparative negligence law does not designate how fault is determined in auto accident cases. Therefore, it falls to you as the claimant to prove the percentage of liability of the other driver.
The other driver will likely deny liability when you file a personal injury claim for an auto accident. Their insurance company will do everything possible to reduce their client’s liability to shift the blame onto you instead. And the more fault you end up with, the less money you are eligible to receive in compensation.
The other driver and their insurance company may bring up the following to pass blame onto you or environmental factors:
- Distracted driving (you were on your phone, looking away, or talking to a passenger)
- Driving under the influence
- Carelessness (you ignored stop lights or signage)
- Incorrect signage or no signage on the road
- Extenuating environmental or weather factors
Under pure comparative negligence, it is up to you and your legal team to refute these denials with proof in the form of witness statements, photos, medical reports, and more. The smaller your own degree of fault, the more compensation you get to keep.
Due to the complexity of pure comparative negligence in Missouri, working with a car accident attorney to help you navigate the legal terrain is essential. The team at Cofman Townsley can help you fight for your rights and prove the other party’s negligence, so you receive maximum compensation.
A car accident attorney from Cofman Townsley can do the following to help you win a fair settlement in your case:
- Communicate with the other driver’s insurance company and lawyers
- Gather and present evidence for your case, including photos, witness statements, police reports, medical reports, and expert testimony
- Advise you during the process to ensure your actions help your case
- Provide expertise on fair settlement or damage amounts
- Negotiate until a fair settlement is reached
Although you cannot prevent another driver from behaving negligently on the road, you can pursue damages if your injuries result from their actions. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a car crash in Missouri, contact the team at Cofman Townsley Attorneys at Law to speak with an auto accident lawyer about your case and make sure you get the full amount you are owed.
One of our car accident lawyers will review your case and advise you on the best legal strategy to block the other driver’s liability defense to win a fair settlement for your injuries. Call our law firm today to schedule your free consultation.