You were pulling out of a parking lot, and someone hit you from behind. Who is at fault?
To answer this question, you must first understand the many details that affect determinations of fault in New Jersey.
When the other driver might be at fault
If the negligent actions of the driver who hit you caused the accident, they might be the most at fault. The court will examine instances of negligence, including:
- Driving above the speed limit or too fast for road conditions
- Not paying attention
- Aggressive or drunk driving
When you might be at fault
In some scenarios, even though another driver hit you, you may share responsibility for the collision. The court may attribute negligence to you for pulling out too slow or fast, failing to use your turn signal, braking suddenly or driving aggressively or under the influence.
Understanding comparative negligence
New Jersey adheres to a modified comparative negligence law, which means you can only recover damages if the other party is 50% or more at fault for the incident. If that 50% rule holds in your case, the amount you are eligible to receive drops by the percentage of fault the court assigns to you. For example, if the other driver is 80% responsible, you can only recover up to 80% of the damages.
Determining fault in an accident such as this is complex and often confusing, so it is imperative to have someone in your corner who understands the process and can help protect your rights.