When you are injured in a car accident as a result of someone else’s fault, you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries and other damages. However, when filing a personal injury lawsuit, it is important that you have a clear understanding of the applicable law and what it means for your case.
Whether you are the defendant or the plaintiff in a New York personal injury suit, one of the most common arguments in car accident cases is usually that the plaintiff may have contributed to the accident or their own injuries. This is due to the state’s comparative fault law that has been in place since 1975.
What is comparative fault and how does it work?
Negligence is one of the leading causes of avoidable accidents in New York. Basically, this means that when someone is not careful, their actions can directly or indirectly result in an injury to another person.
When an accident is occasioned by more than one person, all the parties responsible for the accident can be held liable for the resulting injuries and damages. Like most other states, New York is a comparative fault state. This means that your contribution to the accident will be a factor in determining how much you get in compensation for your injury.
New York’s comparative negligence law apportions fault to all the parties responsible for the accident and apportions the damages accordingly. If, for example, you have $100,000 worth of damages but the court says that you are 20% at fault for your own injuries because you didn’t have your seat belt properly fastened, you would receive $100,000 minus 20%, or $80,000.
Personal injury claims can be complicated, especially if you contributed to the accident in some way. Understanding more about the specifics of your case can help you decide what to do next.