What To Do If You’re Partially at Fault For an Auto Accident

Rochester MN Automobile Injury Attorneys

Being in an auto accident is scary. When you know you may have been partially at fault, though, it’s even worse. A poor decision made in a split second could result in an accident that causes injuries and property damage, and that might mean you’ll need to pay.

Minnesota has a no-fault insurance system. That means regardless of who caused the accident, you can claim a certain amount of compensation from your own insurance policy. The no-fault system means that payouts tend to be a bit quicker than in tort states. That’s a good thing because you can cover expenses such as medical bills and lost employment income.

This no-fault insurance system doesn’t mean you can’t pursue damages against another driver, though. Minnesota has a minimum threshold for a lawsuit against another driver, meaning you’ll need to meet one or more of these circumstances:

  • The accident caused you to accrue $4,000 or more in medical expenses
  • The auto accident left you with an injury that lasted for 60 days or longer
  • The accident resulted in permanent injury or death

Minnesota state law gives you up to six years after the accident to file a claim against another driver.

It’s important to know that you can pursue compensation from another driver even if you were partially at fault for the accident. You’ll need to know what that means for your case, though, and how it will impact your compensation.

What Minnesota Law Says About Partial Fault in Auto Accidents

Minnesota is a comparative fault state. That means in the case of an auto accident, the law will look at the actions of each party involved and decide how much of the accident was their fault. A judge will then assign the fault as a percentage. That percentage will affect how much compensation you can recover from the other person.

For example, a judge may determine that you were 30% at fault for the accident while the other person was 70% at fault. That means they would then be responsible for 70% of your medical expenses while you’d be responsible for the other 30%. Bear in mind, though, that if a judge finds that you are 50% or more at fault, then you cannot sue the other parties for damages.

Because of the way that Minnesota’s auto accident laws work, being partially at fault in an accident can mean that you recover less in damages. However, it’s important to review all your options with an attorney, so they can advise you on the best way to move forward with a claim. Otherwise, you may end up missing out on the compensation you are entitled to after your accident, even if you were partially at fault. That’s because insurance companies will try their best to reduce the amount of compensation they have to pay out to you.

Insurance companies try to promote the myth that injured people are partially at fault simply because they were at the scene of the accident. That’s a common misconception among those who have been in an auto accident. It’s not the law, and if an insurance company tries to tell you that it is, you need to speak to a lawyer right away.

What To Do After An Accident When You Are Partially At Fault

If you are in an auto accident and believe you were partially at fault, it’s important to try to remain calm. It’s unlikely that the accident was entirely your fault. Even if you are partially at fault, there are things you should do to protect your ability to claim compensation later on. Most importantly, you want to avoid admitting fault, as doing so could affect the strength of your case later on. Following these tips can help:

  • Check to see if the other parties need help, but don’t discuss the accident. That means you shouldn’t talk about what happened before the accident, and you definitely shouldn’t apologize to them for causing the accident.
  • Answer the officer’s questions but don’t admit fault. Be polite and honest, but give them the most basic information possible. Avoid details and simply state facts.
  • Report the accident to your insurance company. Again, be calm and courteous, but don’t give them any more detail than necessary to file your claim.
  • Avoid posting anything on social media. Don’t post photos and don’t discuss the details of the accident on your social accounts, even if you believe them to be private.

While you are still at the scene of the accident, and if it’s safe to do so, go ahead and take some pictures of the scene on your smartphone. Try to get both wide-angle and close up shots, and take them from various angles. Include the surrounding area, too. This may help your case later on.

When You Should Contact an Attorney if You Are Partially At Fault for an Accident

Once you have received medical attention, then it’s time to contact an auto accident attorney. This is true whether you were at fault or not. An attorney can help you determine whether you were at fault and how much of the accident you may be at fault for. This is a difficult determination to make on your own without prior experience in accident investigation. You certainly don’t want to rely on the opinion of the insurance companies, either, as they may try to make you seem more at-fault than you really are so you settle for less.

Minnesota has complicated insurance and accident laws. Having an experienced attorney on your side can help you avoid common pitfalls and maximize your compensation. If you’ve recently been in an accident and believe you may be partially to blame, get in touch with our team. Let us start to work on your case so you can focus on moving beyond the trauma of being in an auto accident. We can arrange for a free case consultation with one of our experienced auto accident attorneys when you contact us through our website or call our Rochester office.