Matthew B. Troutman
Did you know that more than one person can be at fault in an accident? Here is how Kentucky law resolves this problem.
Most automobile accidents result from the negligence of one party, such as when someone drives through a stop light or stop sign or when someone rearends the car in front of them, but sometimes both parties are negligent in causing the accident and if that is the case in your accident, then you will need to undertand the term - comparative negligence. In Kentucky comparative negligence governs the determination of fault when there is evidence of negligence of more than one driver. Comparative negligence is simply a percentage system where drivers are determined to be at fault in the percentage that their negligence caused the accident. If the accident was mostly the fault of one driver, then that party will bear a greater percentage of the fault. If both vehicles are equally at fault, then each vehicle will bear an equal percentage of fault.
Kentucky is a Pure Comparative Negligence State.
Not all states have comparative negligence laws and the ones that do have two different types. One type is called "weighted comparative negligence" and the other is "pure comparative negligence." Under the "weighted comparative negligence" rule, a plaintiff cannot make a claim if the Plaintiff is at least 50% responsbile for causing the accident. Kentucky does not accept this rule; instead, Kentucky follows the "pure comparative" rule, which says that a Plaintiff can make a claim even if the Plaintiff is 99% responsible.
To understand "pure comparative" negligence, let me give you an example of a recent case that a client called me about. The family was walking to the grocery store and their 9-year old daughter was riding her bike as the parents walked. As they approached an intersecting street that had the right of way and had no stop sign or stop light for the right of way vehicle, the daughter rode her bike through the stop sign and into the intersection and was struck by a vehicle coming over a hill and at a high rate of speed. In a "weighted comparative negligence" state, the daughter would have no claim because she is 50% or more responsible for the accident. In a comparative state, the driver of the vehicle may bear some percentage of responsibility, if it is determined he was travelling too fast or that he failed to take evasive action to avoid the accident. Drivers with the right of way, have the duty to drive within the speed limit and avoid impact with pedestrians and other vehicles in the roadway even if they are there illegally.
Consult an Auto Accident Lawyer to help you determine fault in an auto accident.
Even if it looks like you or someone you love is at fault in an accident, it may be to your beneift to make sure they are 100% at fault because under the pure comparative negligence laws in the commonwealth of Kentucky, you may be able to recover some of your damages. Police officers do not know or understand comparative negligence and you cannot rely on their reports or what they tell you to determine if a party is at fault. Consult with an auto accident attorney and have him or her review your situation to make sure you do not have a claim.