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Can You Be Partially at Fault for a Missouri Car Crash?

Another driver failed to stop at an intersection or merged right into the side of your vehicle on the highway like they didn’t even see you. The crash that resulted not only damaged your vehicle but also left you with injuries.

When you realized that the other driver does not have enough insurance coverage to reimburse you for your lost wages and your medical bills, you may have looked into your options. Missouri law does allow those hurt in car wrecks to file civil lawsuits against the drivers who caused the crashes.

While you know the other driver is clearly at fault, you also recognize that you made a traffic mistake yourself, something minor like failing to use your turn signal or not having your headlights on in the first minutes of twilight. Will your contributions to the crash prevent you from taking legal action against the other driver?

Minor traffic mistakes do not bar you from a civil lawsuit

You can have some minor responsibility for a situation and still suffer noteworthy and lasting consequences because of someone else’s mistakes or negligence. Missouri law reflects the complexities of fault and causation by addressing comparative fault, which some people call contributory negligence.

Comparative fault is the legal term for the role an individual plays in a crash. It means that you contributed to the negative outcome even if you did not cause it. The other driver could claim comparative fault in court as a response to your lawsuit, but the burden of proof will be on them.

The other driver will need evidence that you did or failed to do something that had a direct role in causing the crash. Even if the courts agree that you are partially responsible for the crash, they will simply assign you a percentage of fault and use that figure to adjust what compensation you receive at the end of the trial. 

Comparative fault will only reduce, not eliminate, your compensation

You can still hold the other driver responsible even if you made a mistake that played a minor role in causing the crash. If they try to shift the blame to you in court, you can defend your right to compensation by showing the extent of your losses and the clear connection between the other driver’s actions and the unfortunate outcome.