It’s early morning. You are on your way to work, taking your regular route. You come up to a light and it turns yellow. You speed up, but you realize too late that you will never make the light. You slam on your brakes. By doing so you avoid entering the intersection, but soon after your car jolts and you hear that unnerving crunch: rear-ended. There are a thousand different variations of this story; little things that go wrong ending in the common fender-bender. But in all these cases, who is at-fault?

Comparative Fault

The common belief is that the person who rear-ends the other is at-fault. This is not entirely untrue. In fact, in most cases the person who rear-ends will always assume a portion of the blame, if not the majority of it. However, Idaho is a “comparative fault” state. This means that they don’t look at it as who is at-fault, but who is more at-fault. This comes from the idea of negligence. Lets take a look the original example.

The person who rear-ended you should have been paying attention to the light and what is a reasonable speed. By doing so, they could have avoided the collision altogether. Their negligence takes the majority of the blame. But, you should have also been more careful in not trying to speed through the light. Therefore, you are partially at-fault. Your negligence, while less, still influenced the outcome of the accident.

What Does This Mean For You?

The percentage of blame, or liability, is considered both by insurance companies and by judges (if you take it to court) to determine your compensation. For example, your damages might come to $10,000 dollars. In this case the rear-end driver might be determined to be  80% at fault, where you were found 20% to blame. Your compensation would then by decreased by the amount you are liable, 20%. So rather than receiving $10,000 dollars you would receive $8000. If, however, you are found to be more than 50% at-fault, then you will not be rewarded any compensation.

Have You Been in an Accident?

We hope this answers your question of who is at-fault. In some ways we all assume the responsibility to be safe on the roads, and so we also all take a little bit of the blame if something goes wrong. But, if you have been in an accident and you need help, call us today! We are experienced Idaho Accident Attorneys that have handled countless rear-end cases. We will help you navigate the comparative fault system to maximize your compensation.

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay and Marcel Langthim