If you've been in an accident, you may be worried that you won't be able to recover compensation because you were partially at fault. In most states this should not be a concern, as you can still recover for the accident even if you were partly to blame. How is this possible? It all has to do with something called "comparative negligence."
Comparative fault rules allow a party that was partially at fault to recover for their damages. There are two types of comparative fault. The first type is pure comparative negligence. This legal doctrine allows parties who are partially at fault for an accident to recover damages irrespective of their fault. In a pure comparative negligence state, a plaintiff can recover even if they were 99% at fault. In a modified comparative negligence state, a plaintiff will be barred from recovery if they are more than 50% at fault. For example, if you were 10% at fault for the accident and the other driver was 90% at fault, you would still be able to recover damages from the other driver.
Most states allow for some form of comparative fault. However, in contrast to comparative fault states, there are four states (AL, VA, NC, MD) and the District of Columbia that bar a plaintiff's recovery if the Plaintiff is found to be even 1% at fault. This legal doctrine is called Contributory Negligence.
In order for comparative negligence to apply, there must first be a determination of who was at fault for the accident and to what degree. Once that has been established, any damages that are awarded will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to the injured party.
For example, let's say that you suffer $10,000 in damages in an accident. However, it is later determined that you were 20% at fault for the accident. This means that you would only be able to recover $8,000 from the other driver since your award would be reduced by 20%.
Understanding the comparative and contributory negligence difference is important when determining how to argue your cases. This is another reason why it's so important to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side who knows the ins and outs of state law and can help you navigate these complicated issues.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help guide you through this process and ensure that your rights are protected every step of the way. Call Lawfty for a free consultation with one of our Intake Specialists at 844-997-5100 to find out if you may have a case, even if you are partially at fault.