The law is very clear in that the person responsible for an accident should have to pay for any injuries or damage that result from it. Of course, things aren’t always 100-percent clear cut, and there are often situations where more than one party is determined to be at least partly at fault. Should this be the case and the police or court determines that you were partially at fault for the accident, it is important to know how this will affect your right to seek compensation.
Fault is a very powerful term in a personal injury lawsuit. In this type of case, fault is taken to mean responsibility for an accident and any resulting injuries due to carelessness or negligence. When the courts determine that an individual was at fault for an accident, they are then liable to pay compensation for any injuries, medical bills and other losses or expenses. Still, there may be cases where the court determines that the accident was at least partially your fault, in which case you are only entitled to a certain percentage of the total compensation settlement.
New York’s Comparative Fault Laws
New York operates under comparative fault laws, which means that the court assesses exactly how much fault lies with each party in order to determine the total compensation or settlement award. For instance, the court could determine that the accident was 25 percent your fault and 75 percent the fault of the other party. In this case, New York’s comparative fault laws mean that you would only be entitled to receive compensation for 75 percent of the cost of your medical bills. The fact that the accident was 25 percent your fault means that the court will expect you to pay a quarter of any medical bills and other costs arising from the accident.
Unfortunately, these comparative fault laws can work in the defense’s favor. If you decide to file a personal injury claim, there is a high chance that the other person’s lawyers will try to convince the court that you were at least partially at fault for the accident. Should the lawyers be successful, you will end up missing out on a potentially substantial percentage of the total compensation. For this reason, it is essential that you seek the assistance of a skilled personal injury attorney to help argue your case and hopefully prove that the other person was indeed at fault for the accident.
No-Fault Auto Accidents
New York technically operates under a no-fault rule for auto accidents, which means that you must file a claim with your own insurance company even if another driver was at fault for the accident. However, the state’s personal injury threshold supersedes this rule and allows you to file a claim against the other driver in cases where the accident resulted in serious injury. Nonetheless, the comparative fault rule is still applied in these cases, which means that you might still only be entitled to a percentage of the total settlement.
For instance, if you were in a serious accident caused by another driver making an illegal left turn in front of you, the court will obviously determine that the primary fault lies with the other driver. However, if you were speeding at the time of the accident, you will also be held partially at fault, in which case you will only be entitled to have a percentage of your medical expenses covered.
New York’s comparative fault laws can be quite confusing, and unfortunately, they can also put you at a disadvantage when filing a personal injury claim. For this reason, it is vital that you speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer to get the advice and assistance you need. Even if the accident was partially your fault, you are still entitled to compensation. Although there is no guarantee that you won’t be held partially at fault for the accident, a skilled lawyer gives you a much better chance of presenting your case and the evidence in a way that should give you a better chance of your claim being successful.