What Should I Do If I Think I Was Partially At Fault in a Car Accident?

Posted By Mark Vrana
What Should I Do If I Think I Was Partially At Fault in a Car Accident?

Sustaining serious injuries in a motor vehicle accident is devastating, and it is often difficult to think clearly at the scene of the accident. You may know for certain that another driver is at least partially at fault for the collision because that other driver ran a red light or a stop sign, or because the driver admitted to texting on his or her phone immediately before the crash. However, you might also be concerned about your own liability in the accident, and you might be unsure about what you should do if you think you were also partially at fault for the wreck.

No matter what, you should get in touch with a Michigan car accident lawyer as soon as you can to have your case assessed and to determine your options for seeking financial compensation. In the meantime, however, the following are the steps you should take if you were involved in a collision but you are concerned that you could be partially to blame.


Do Not Admit Fault to Anyone at the Scene of the Car Accident

Even if you suspect you might have been partially to blame for the accident because you were speeding, for example, when the collision occurred, you should never admit fault to anyone at the scene of the car accident. Beyond admitting any fault outright, you should also avoid making any statements in which you suggest you could be partially to blame, or that could be perceived as your own admission of fault. For instance, do not say that you think you might have been speeding when the accident happened, and do not apologize to anyone in the collision. An apology can sometimes be construed as an admission of guilt. The moments after a crash can be disorienting, and it is best to stick to objective information until you can have a lawyer assess your case.


Provide Only the Facts to Your Auto Insurer

Assuming you have valid auto insurance as is required by Michigan law, you will need to report the auto accident to your insurance company in anticipation of filing a claim under your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. However, when you talk to the insurance company, you must avoid providing any subjective information that could lead the insurer to believe that you are partially at fault for the collision, or that your own negligence contributed to the accident. Even though you have no-fault insurance, admitting fault to your insurance could end up hurting your case later on if you file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.


Speak with a Michigan Car Accident Lawyer About Your Case

Begin working with a Michigan motor vehicle accident lawyer as soon as possible who can help you to understand how your own negligence might affect your case.


Understand How Michigan’s Comparative Fault Law Works

If you believe you are partially at fault, you need to understand how Michigan’s comparative fault law works. Comparative fault and contributory negligence laws are defenses when a person is facing financial liability for personal injuries. Accordingly, the issue of comparative fault only comes up if the defendant raises the issue. Then, the plaintiff still has the ability to prove that she or he is not actually at fault for the collision or for the severity of her own injuries.

Depending upon the state you are in, comparative fault can result in reduced damages for the plaintiff or can bar the plaintiff’s recovery entirely. In Michigan, a plaintiff’s damages award is reduced by his or her percentage of fault when the plaintiff is 50 percent or less at fault. Once a plaintiff is 51 percent or more at fault, the law bars that plaintiff from recovering noneconomic damages.


Make Plans to File a Lawsuit Against the Negligent Driver

Whether or not your car accident lawyer believes that comparative fault could lead to a reduction in your damages award, you should make plans to move forward with your auto insurance claim and, if necessary, to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. As we explained above, even if a court does find that you are partially to blame after the defendant raises the issue of comparative fault, you may still be able to recover a substantial damages award. However, you will not be able to recover any damages if you file your lawsuit too late. Under Michigan’s personal injury statute of limitations, you will likely have three years from the date of the accident to file your lawsuit with help from your Michigan car accident attorney.


Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Michigan

If you were involved in a motor vehicle collision caused by a negligent driver but you have concerns about your own liability for the crash, one of the experienced Michigan car accident attorneys at our firm can assist you. Contact Mihelich & Kavanaugh, PLC for more information about the personal injury services we provide.

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About the Author:

Mark Vrana

Mihelich & Kavanaugh, PLC was founded in 1951 by Joseph E. Mihelich. Mr. Mihelich’s mission was to create a firm that offered the services of a large firm while maintaining the accessibility and responsiveness of a small firm. Mark A. Vrana is a litigation attorney practicing primarily in the areas of personal injury and family law.Mihelich & Kavanaugh, PLC is a full-service law firm dedicated to providing its clients with superior legal services. Since its formation, the firm has adhered to the goal of excellence in representation. Fulfillment of the goal is exemplified throughout all stages of litigation without exception. The firm has two offices in Macomb County and represents a wide array of clients across the state of Michigan. Further, we offer a free initial consultation and evening and weekend appointments so as to better serve your needs. Contact us today to discuss your potential case. We look forward to working for you.Over the years, the firm has handled a wide variety of cases, from small contract disputes to multi-million-dollar injury cases. It has grown and has offices in Eastpointe and Clinton Township. The firm is able to serve the needs of the private sector with a comprehensive range of expert legal advice in any area of the law. It is committed to offering superior legal services to its clients.... View full business profile here: Mark Vrana