When someone is involved in an accident, they often assume that if they are not completely at fault, they can file a compensation claim. However, the truth is that things are not always so straightforward. In some cases, the claimant may be partially responsible for the accident, and this can have a significant impact on their ability to receive compensation. If you find yourself in this situation in New York, it is important to consult with personal injury attorneys in New York City to understand the details of how a claim is settled and what you can do to get the compensation you deserve.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
When someone is involved in an accident and files a personal injury claim, the court will consider who was at fault for the accident. Most would assume that only one party will be held responsible, and the claimant, of course, is not. But in some cases, it may be determined that both parties share responsibility for the accident. This is known as comparative negligence. Under this system, the court will assign a percentage of fault to each party involved in the accident.
For example, let’s say you were involved in a car accident where you were speeding and ran a red light. Another car was turning left at the intersection, and you collided with them. In this scenario, the court may find that you are 70% at fault for the accident, and the other driver is 30% at fault.
The Impact on Your Claim
If you are found to be partially responsible for the accident, this can significantly impact your ability to receive compensation. Under comparative negligence, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you. Using the example above, if you were seeking $100,000 in compensation, you would only be able to receive $30,000 because you were 70% at fault for the accident.
It is also important to note that some states have a rule known as “contributory negligence,” which means that if you are even 1% at fault for the accident, you may not be able to recover any compensation. However, most states including New York follow the comparative negligence rule, which allows you to recover some compensation even if you are partially at fault for the accident. It’s important to remember this rule because it could even mean that even if you were 99% at fault for the accident, you can still recover 1% of your damages from the other driver.
How an Attorney Can Help Even If You’re Partially At Fauly
If you are filing a personal injury claim and are partially responsible for the accident, it is important to seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can help you navigate the legal system and maximize your compensation in a number of ways:
- An attorney can thoroughly investigate the accident to determine who was at fault and to what extent. They may use accident reconstruction experts or other professionals to help build your case.
- An attorney can negotiate with insurance companies to get you the compensation you deserve. Insurance companies may try to offer you a lower settlement if they believe you are partially responsible for the accident, but an attorney can fight to get you the full amount you deserve.
- If your case goes to trial, an attorney can represent you in court and argue your case in front of a judge and jury. They can use their experience and knowledge of the law to build a strong case on your behalf.
Common Questions Regarding Fault and Personal Injury Claims
Q: Can I still file a claim if I am partially responsible for the accident?
A: Yes, you can still file a claim, but your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you.
Q: What if the other party is also partially responsible for the accident?
A: Under the New York comparative negligence rule, both parties can be assigned a percentage of fault. If the other party is also partially responsible, their compensation will also be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to them.
Q: What if I don’t agree with the percentage of fault assigned to me?
A: If you disagree with the percentage of fault assigned to you, you can try to negotiate with the other party’s insurance company or take the case to court. An experienced attorney can help you navigate this process and fight for a lower percentage of fault.
If you have been involved in an accident and are considering filing a personal injury claim, it is important to understand the impact that comparative negligence can have on your ability to receive compensation. Seeking the help of a New York personal injury law firm can greatly increase your chances of getting the compensation you deserve, even if you are partially responsible for the accident. Don’t hesitate to contact Joudeh & Kuller, LLP for a consultation and to discuss your legal options. We are here to help you navigate the legal system and fight for the compensation you deserve.