Can I still pursue compensation if I was partially at fault for my injuries?
When you have sustained a personal injury, it is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed. Most victims are uncertain about whether they can seek financial compensation for the losses they have experienced.
These situations can be even more confusing if you believe that you hold partial responsibility for the accident or injury. Some victims wonder, “Can I still pursue compensation if I was partially at fault for my injuries?”
The answer to this question will depend on many factors related to your case. No matter what type of injuries you have sustained, however, it is important to seek qualified legal guidance.
Determining which parties are liable in a personal injury case requires specialized knowledge. Fortunately, the knowledgeable attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have decades of experience in helping the victims of accidents and injuries.
Our compassionate legal team will gladly assess the facts of your case to determine whether you may be entitled to receive financial compensation. To schedule a free legal consultation, complete the easy-to-use contact form on the Morgan and Morgan website.
How to Understand Legal Theories of Negligence?
When you are partially responsible for your injuries, you may feel hesitant about pursuing legal action against the other party. If multiple parties are liable for the resulting damages from an accident, allocating responsibility can be very complex.
The jurisdictional rules in your location will determine whether you can successfully pursue financial recovery. For this reason, you should consult with an attorney who has a thorough knowledge of the laws in your area.
There are many ways in which states deal with the question of negligence when it comes to legal and financial liability in tort claims. The two most relevant to this question are contributory negligence and comparative negligence.
What Is Contributory Negligence?
In states that operate on a contributory negligence system, you are not allowed to recover compensation if you hold partial responsibility for your injuries. Contributory negligence is a common law doctrine.
If your own negligence, recklessness, or carelessness contributed to your injuries, you cannot successfully pursue a claim in court. Even if you are seriously injured and another party was primarily responsible, you are prohibited from seeking compensation in states that follow these rules.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
This common law doctrine applies in many states across the country. Under this legal theory, each liable party must take responsibility for the degree to which their actions contributed to the damage.
In a comparative negligence approach, the amount you can recover will be adjusted to account for the percentage of responsibility you hold.
Suppose that you are involved in a car crash that leaves you catastrophically injured. Imagine that the total damages from the collision are calculated at $40,000. Following an investigation, you are found to hold 25% of the responsibility for the accident.
If you successfully pursue a claim in a comparative negligence state, your financial compensation will be reduced to reflect your portion of the liability. In other words, in this example, you could recover 75% of the value of your damages, which works out to roughly $30,000.
Some of the states that operate on a comparative negligence approach include:
- New York
- New Mexico
- Rhode Island
If you need to know how your state handles negligence in tort cases, speak with one of the compassionate legal professionals at Morgan & Morgan. Our lawyers know how to effectively fight for the financial compensation that our clients are owed.
What Is the Comparative Negligence 50% Rule?
Some states operate on a theory of negligence known as the “50% bar rule.” In these locations, victims cannot pursue financial recovery if they are more than 50% at fault for the accident or injury in question. Those who hold less than 50% of the liability can seek the value of damages minus their percentage of responsibility.
Other states bar victims from pursuing compensation if they are 51% at fault.
Speak with a knowledgeable Morgan and Morgan attorney to explore the legal options for injury victims in your state.
What Are Common Damages in Tort Injury Claims?
Accidents and injuries result in many costs and losses for victims. This is true whether they hold some responsibility for the incident or not.
If you are allowed to pursue a personal injury claim in your state, you may be able to recover both special and general financial damages. Special damages are the losses from an injury that are monetary in nature.
- Past and current medical costs
- Expected medical care expenses in the future
- The price of in-home care
- Loss of income or wages from an inability to work
- Long-term loss of income earning capacity
Other losses do not take the form of financial expenses. For these losses, injury victims can pursue general damages. Common examples include:
- Pain and suffering
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Emotional anguish and distress
- Depression and anxiety
- Embarrassment, disability, and disfigurement
- Decreased quality of life
It can be difficult to know how much your personal injury claim is worth. This is especially true if you hold partial responsibility for the damages.
Speaking with an attorney about the details of your claim will help you decide the best course of action.
Morgan & Morgan Will Help You Following an Injury
In the aftermath of a personal injury, let the compassionate lawyers at Morgan and Morgan defend your interests. Even if you are partially responsible for the damages in your case, you may be able to secure the money you need to move forward.
To consult with an attorney and pursue the money you need, fill out the simple contact form on our website. Let Morgan & Morgan fight for you.