Speeding Won’t Necessarily Preclude You from Recovering Damages in a Car Accident
Jared: Hi, I’m Jared Richards. I’m one of the partners here at Clear Counsel Law Group. One of our readers has asked if they could be held responsible for a motor vehicle accident if they were speeding but it was the other person who pulled out in front of them when our reader had the right of way. The answer is that’s an interesting question. Most of the time I think most people would look and say the person who pulled out of a driveway, out of a parking lot or changed lanes without looking is primarily responsible. But, if you’re speeding, then you might have contributed to that because it is possible that the person who was pulling out really had no idea that you were there. You might have had to have been speeding 100 miles an hour, but …
The real question that you have to ask is if this were to go to a jury, if you just go to random eight people on the street and you were to tell them all the facts, who would they find more at fault. I think most of the time they’re going to find at fault the person who was cutting off the other person, the person who pulled out. They may find some amount of negligence on the part of the person who was speeding. Let’s say that the person who was speeding has a $100 claim, was 20% at fault because he was speeding. Then any sort of award or settlement would probably be reduced by 20%, the amount that person was at fault.
Most of the time, it’s the person who pulled out and cut off the other person. There was a reverse case of that several years ago where somebody ran a red light but the police were speeding. The person who ran the red light was injured and sued the police for speeding. Although I think most people would tend to agree that the person who ran the red light is more at fault, the Supreme Court actually sent the case back down and said, “No no no no no, judge. You can’t just decide that the cops are not at fault. They were speeding, so you need to at least let the jury decide who is more at fault.” The answer is it’s not a clear cut, but use common sense, and usually common sense can accurately guide you. Looks like Brian has a question.
Brian: What happens if a jury thinks that each party’s equally at fault?
Jared: If each part is equally at fault, then the jury’s going to cut the judgment in half, or the judge will cut the judgment in half and give half to the injured party. Now if it turns out that the injured party is more at fault than the other side, then the injured party gets nothing. You don’t get anything if you’re the primary person at fault. If it’s equal or if you’re lesser at fault, then you’ll get something but it is going to be decreased by the percentage of your fault. Thanks. Call me if you have any questions, or watch our other videos. We’re here to help. Thanks.