Semi-truck accidents can be catastrophic: many cause serious injury, while others culminate in life-altering disability and hardship. Under ordinary circumstances, you might expect the truck driver’s insurance to help cover the costs of your medical treatment. However, you may be afraid to initiate a claim if you believe your own mistake contributed to the crash.
You Don’t Have to Be Blameless to File a Claim
Every state sets its own rules for who can and cannot file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit after a semi-truck accident.
Missouri has a “pure comparative fault” system. Under this system, anyone can file a claim for compensation as long as the other party’s negligence contributed to the accident.
Pure Comparative Fault and Damages
Missouri’s pure comparative fault system allows injured motorists to pursue compensation even if they were 99% to blame for an accident. However, this does not mean that a person who is found 99% at fault for an accident will be awarded the same amount of money as someone who is entirely blameless. Instead, their damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault a mediator, judge, or jury attributes to them.
Consider the following examples:
- You were sending a text message at a stop sign when you were rear-ended by a drunk driver. Your attorney calculates your damages at $100,000. However, a court finds that you were 10% at fault because you were texting in traffic. Your award is reduced proportionately to your at-fault percentage. You receive $90,000.
- You run a yellow light and get hit by a motorist making an improper traffic maneuver. Your attorney calculates your damages at $100,000. You file an insurance claim, but the company says you had enough time to stop at the light. The court finds you 25% at fault for failing to yield right-of-way on a yellow light. You receive $75,000.
Truck Accidents and Shared Fault
If your own negligence contributed to a semi-truck accident, you could still receive compensation through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
However, you may face an uphill battle to receive an equitable settlement. If the trucking company and its insurer know that you made a mistake, they will do everything in their power to reduce the value of your claim or deny it outright. After all: insurance companies are for-profit businesses, and it is not in their best interest to offer accident victims a fair deal. Their attorneys could contest your level of liability, saying you bear more responsibility than you really do.
The Law Office of Layton & Southard Can Help
You do not have to let yourself get bullied by the trucking company, its insurer, or its attorneys. The Law Office of Layton & Southard is dedicated to fighting injustice. We understand that people make mistakes. However, you should never have to pay the price for another person’s bad decision. Our highly experienced legal team could investigate the circumstances of your Missouri semi-truck accident, gathering the evidence needed to show an insurance adjuster, a judge, or a jury that you deserve a fair recovery.
Please send us a message online or call us at 573-335-3359 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.