The Insurance Company Says I’m Comparatively at Fault?

Chris Finney, Trial Attorney

What we’ve seen over the last five years at trial and when we file cases is that there’s always going to be, in the state of Missouri, an allegation of comparative negligence on behalf of the plaintiff. Or, the plaintiff did something that contributed to the injuries, a certain percentage at fault.

Missouri is a pure comparative state, so if the plaintiff was even ninety-nine percent (99%) at fault they could still recover that one percent (1%) of their damages.

What we see is very often the insurance companies are asserting comparative fault claims against plaintiffs when there isn’t substantial evidence to support it. And, that’s important because the case law in Missouri says there must be substantial evidence to support a claim of comparative fault.

Most people don’t realize that. However, when you get these cases filed and we get the defense’s answer back that are being asserted against the plaintiff, that the plaintiff was comparatively at fault. We really have to work hard to narrow those down, strike those defenses or make the defendant be more specific.

Most of the time the defendant is just shot gunning these out, they don’t really know they’re just putting these answers out there and they don’t have facts to support those comparative fault allegations.

So, if you’re watch this video and the insurance company says you are

  • comparatively or
  • contributory negligent or
  • comp neg

What they’re really saying is you and your injured party is at fault for this. There may be no evidence to support that. But, what the insurance company is going to do is take an arbitrary percentage that they make up and deduct that from your damages.

So, if you had a $100,000 worth of damages and they come up with and say “this is an intersection crash and we believe you should have seen the defendant in time to react or you failed to keep a careful look out we’re going to deduct thirty percent (30%) from your damages.” That’s what they’re talking about with comparative fault.

This is pre-lawsuit and any insurance company can do this. It’s totally up to them. It is one hundred percent (100%) arbitrary and so that’s why it’s important to get to an attorney. The attorney can get this case going to trial and they can force the defendant to layout the facts that support their claim of comparative negligence.

Find Out How Finney Injury Law Can Help You

At Finney Injury Law, we understand how an accident can drastically alter your life, affect your family, and leave you with a massive financial burden. We believe that you should not be forced to bear the consequences of someone else’s carelessness. We are prepared to fight for a favorable settlement from the insurance company or a favorable outcome in court on your behalf. Contact us now to schedule your free consultation to discuss your case in greater detail. Call us at 314-293-4222 or fill out our contact form and we will contact you.

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Posted Under: Car Accident FAQs, General Personal Injury FAQs, Truck Accident FAQs