Am I responsible if bald tires and bad brakes caused this crash?
I was driving my van, traveling west on a street coming up on a two-way intersection (with me having the right-of-way) to where there was also a curve in the road veering to the right. The van's front tires were bald and we have been having trouble with the brakes.
As I was going to negotiate the curve which went to the right, the van just kept going straight forward, jumping a curb and striking a pole. I broke my arm in two places, my nose, and bones in the maxilla area of the face. There were no skid marks either.
Did the bald tires and possible brake failure cause the van to speed up or me to lose control? I'm wondering if the accident will be deemed my fault? Will the insurance refuse to cover my medical bills if it's my fault? I'm very worried about this situation. Thanks for any information you can give.
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ANSWER for "Am I responsible if bald tires and bad brakes caused this crash?":
Billy (Bolivar, MO):
There appears little doubt you are entirely liable for the accident and your related injuries. Missouri is a "pure comparative negligence" state. This means insurance companies and ultimately the courts look at the percentage of each party's contribution to his or her own injuries.
In your case you seem to have contributed to your own injuries by a percentage between 95% and 100%. Fortunately, the pure comparative negligence rule should not apply to you. This is because you are the only party in the accident.
Although each insurance policy has different rules and regulations, most are required to pay for their insured's injuries up to the amount of policy limits, regardless of each insured's contribution to his or her own injuries.
The only exception would be if you were injured during the commission of a crime, or you intentionally staged the accident. It doesn't appear you did either.
It looks like you have nothing to worry about. File your insurance claim. Make sure you present all your medical bills. Once your claim is paid, you won't be able to reopen the claim.
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.
Best of luck,
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