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Last Modified: November 9, 2021


Black’s Law Dictionary defines at-fault, in the civil law, as “negligence or want of care. “It is also an improper act or omission, injurious to another and transpiring through negligence, rashness, or ignorance”. A simpler definition by Nolo Law says “as with other types of accidents, figuring out who is at -fault in a traffic accident is a matter of deciding who was careless”.

Example Sentence

Mr. Jones was driving under the influence when he hit the pedestrian with his car. Since he ran the red light, he was clearly at-fault for the accident.

Case Study

David Calder suffered an injury after using a gas container  to start a fire in a wood-burning stove in his trailer home. The container was  manufactured  by Blitz USA. The resulting fire severely burned Mr. Calder and killed his two year old daughter. Mr. Calder filed a complaint against Blitz USA for alleged defective design, defective warning, breach of implied warranty, negligent mispresentation and negligence under Utaw law. After deliberation, the jury found out that Mr. Calder is 30% at-fault for the accident. Instead of getting 100% of the total compensation awarded to him, Mr. Calder receives only 70% of the total amount.

Other Important Information

Nolo Law Legal Encyclopedia states that “most accidents happen because someone was careless. The basic rule is: If one person involved in an accident was less careful than another, the less careful one must pay for at least a portion of the damages suffered by the more careful one.” In a personal injury claims for reckless driving, comparative negligence analysis between the plaintiff and defendant will be made. See Title 78B Chapter 5 Section 818 for additional details on comparative analysis. In essence, both parties will present evidence to show who is more careless. If the injured party’s driving behavior  has contributed to the accident, then the percentage of carelessness or negligence of the injured party will be deducted from the compensation owe to him/her. Read Nolo Law on determining legal liability and how your carelessness affects your claim.