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In different states, liability statutes vary. Comparative negligence is a factor in percentage rates. For example, if you are 80 percent at fault, don't expect to receive anything other than a denial letter from the other person's insurance carrier. Each state has its own jurisdicational guidelines, and its own judicial interpretation of those statutes. You do not need a lawyer to explain them to you. Your personal auto agent can explain why you can or cannot expect to collect from the other party's carrier. If you have first party collision coverage on your own policy, you may make a claim against your policy, repair your vehicle, less your deductible, and have your insurance company attempt to collect your deductible from the other carrier via your insurance carrier's subrogation department. However, it may be awhile before they are able to do so. In some instances, liability is usually accepted by the other person's carrier. For example, rear-end accidents, pedestrian hits, and hitting parked and unoccuppied vehicles are usually paid in full. Left turns, intersection accidents, multiple car accidents, or where conditions weren't clear at the time (be they weather, who was driving, if there was coverage at the time) are harder to determine, and may be harder to determine. Coverage issues with the other party are totally out of your control, so it is usually best to go through your own carrier, as the coverage issue may not be sorted out in time for your vehicle to be repaired without you meeting the burden of mitigating your own damages, which is what the other party's company expects you to do. Again, you are expected to take action in a way that any reasonable person would do to mitigate, or lessen, his or her damages, and not incur excessive expense.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|