Yes. Injured motorists, motorcyclists, cyclists, and pedestrians can pursue a personal injury claim even if partially at fault for the accident. The apportionment of even a small degree of fault or negligence on the part of another allows you to claim for personal injury compensation following a collision. Here is how it works and why it matters, particularly if you have suffered serious impairment or catastrophic injury.
Motor Vehicle Accident Claims – How Fault Factors into the Claims and Damages you can Pursue
If you were the sole cause of a motor vehicle accident, in most cases you are entitled to bring a claim for ICBC Part 7 accident benefits (also known as a “no-fault” benefits claim). Part 7 benefits pay for specific medical and rehabilitation expenses, wage loss, and homemaking benefits, up to certain coverage limits. If you have been seriously injured—a brain injury or spinal cord injury, for example—Part 7 policy limits may not be enough to cover your wage losses and care costs.
On the other hand, if you were only partially at fault for the accident, you can pursue a personal injury claim (also known as a “tort” claim) in addition to a Part 7 claim. A personal injury claim gives you access to coverage under the other driver’s third party liability insurance policy and opens the door for you to claim different types or “heads of damage” including damages for pain and suffering. For those reasons, a personal injury tort claim will generally attract a higher settlement or court award.
How Fault Factors into the Calculation of Damages
If you are partially at fault, you are still entitled to claim compensation which—depending on the severity of your injuries and the extent of your losses—may be substantial. In your personal injury claim, there will be an allocation of liability according to degrees of fault for the accident (e.g., 25% to you, 75% to the other driver). Recovery will then be reduced in proportion to your share of liability. Using the example provided, if your degree of fault for the accident is 25% then your final compensation will be 75% of your claim’s value. As noted, personal injury tort claims attract higher value settlements and court awards. Damages for pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, and the costs of future care are often substantial, worth hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars—even after reduction for partial fault—for those who have sustained serious injuries or long-term impairment.
Legal Advice from Personal Injury Lawyers in Surrey/Delta and Vancouver
You are entitled to pursue a personal injury claim even if you were partially at fault for the accident. The determination of fault after an accident can be complex. Don’t rely on what the police, ICBC or anyone else says about who is liable for your accident, or to what degree—always consult a personal injury lawyer. Contact Simpson, Thomas & Associates to schedule a free initial consultation with our personal injury lawyers in Surrey/Delta and Vancouver. Zoom meetings are available. Our lawyers can fight unfair fault determinations and maximize your personal injury compensation.