I Automatically Win If I Was Rear-Ended In A Car Accident – Right?
Car accidents generally involve the negligence of one or more parties. Occasionally, however, car accidents can result from intentional acts. Negligence suggests an unintentional act; an act which could have been and should have been avoided. In a typical car accident case one or more of the following allegations of negligence will often be alleged:
- Failure to keep a proper lookout
- Failure to stop
- Driving at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent under the circumstances
- Failure to keep the vehicle under control
- Failure to yield right of way
- Failure to signal
- Following too close
Under most circumstances if you are rear-ended it is most probable that the vehicle that struck you failed to pay attention, was driving too fast for conditions, and was following too close. As we all know, it is your responsibility as a driver to make sure you maintain sufficient distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you to provide a safe braking buffer. The reason for this buffer is to allow for emergency circumstances. Therefore, if you are rear-ended you will generally be considered innocent. Being hit from behind often suggests someone violated one or more of the rules of the road.
However, there are circumstances where you could be considered negligent. For instance, if you inadvertently reverse your vehicle and hit the car behind you. Or, if you stop suddenly want to execute a turn but fail to activate your turn signal.
In these situations “comparative negligence” would apply – in Oregon, in order to prevail in your personal injury claim you must not be assessed with more than fifty percent (50%) of the liability for the car accident. The percentage of liability assessed against you will be determined by the fact finder in your claim – either Judge or Jury.
If you are determined to be more than fifty percent (50%) at fault for the car accident, you will not be entitled to recover any compensation. If you are assessed with some liability but less than 50 percent, the Judge will reduce your award by that percentage. For example, if the Jury awards you $10,000 for compensation but, also finds you twenty-five percent (25%) liable, you will receive $7,500 of the award. Alternatively, if the jury found you to be fifty-one percent (51%) at fault, you would not receive any of the awarded compensation.