Can I Still Pursue Compensation if I Was Partially at Fault for My Injuries?

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Personal injury cases cover injuries sustained in the workplace, car accidents, and many other scenarios. In some situations, victims may be partially at fault for their injuries. Depending on the specifics of the accident and the jurisdiction in which the injury occurred, victims may still be able to recover for their damages in court.

If you or a loved one was injured but may have been partially at fault for the accident, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free case evaluation with one of our accident personal injury lawyers.

NEGLIGENCE THEORIES

If you were partially at fault for an accident where you sustained injuries, you may be hesitant to file a claim in court. A victim may have contributed to an accident if they failed to mitigate their damages or even helped to cause the initial event. When there are multiple parties involved in an accident claim, allocating liability may be difficult for plaintiffs and defendants alike. Fortunately, even if you contributed to the accident, you may still be able to seek damages from other responsible parties.

Ultimately, this ability to recover in these situations of partial liability primarily depends on the jurisdictional rules of where the accident took place. States typically adhere to comparative or contributory negligence theories for accident claims. Your ability to recover may vary depending on which theory your state follows. These common theories are introduced below.

Contributory Negligence

In a state operating under a contributory negligence system, victims who contribute to the accident at all are barred from recovery. This common law doctrine primarily aims to prohibit recovery by victims who were injured, even slightly, by their own negligence or carelessness. Under this rule, even severely injured plaintiffs cannot win in court against very negligent defendants. A plaintiff may have been contributorily negligent if they were not exercising reasonable care at the time of the accident, which may have worsened the other party’s carelessness or even created new injuries. Today, only five states and the District of Columbia use contributory negligence, while the rest of the United States uses comparative negligence.

Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence is another common law theory that applies to negligence and injury suits in the majority of states. Comparative negligence asserts that when an accident occurs, the fault and/or negligence of each party involved is to be based upon their respective contributions to the accident. Unlike contributory negligence, comparative negligence allows plaintiffs to recover for their injuries, even if they were partially at fault. This system allows plaintiffs to assign blame and seek compensation from the responsible parties accordingly. In addition to pure comparative negligence, there are three comparative negligence theories that impose stricter standards on fault allocation.

Modified Comparative Negligence: 51% Rule

While some states adhere to the traditional comparative negligence rule, some other states have implemented more stringent versions. In comparative negligence states that use the 51% rule, you cannot collect damages if you were 51% or more at fault for an accident.

Modified Comparative Negligence: 50% Rule

In other comparative negligence states, courts mandate even tougher standards. In modified comparative negligence states that use the 50% rule, you cannot recover at all if you were 50% or more at fault for an accident. This not only makes it harder for plaintiffs to recover, but also requires that they allocate liability carefully to avoid bearing the costs of their injuries completely.

Slight Comparative Negligence Rule

Lastly, some states use the slight-gross comparative negligence rule. If you were partially responsible for an accident where you sustained injuries in one of these states, you can only collect damages if you were slightly negligent. These states emphasize an obvious distinction between contributing acts that were slightly negligent and those that were grossly negligent. If you cannot prove to the court that your acts only slightly worsened your injuries, you may not be able to recover at all.

If you were involved in an accident where you sustained injuries, you may be entitled to legal compensation. Even if you were partially responsible for your injuries, you may still be able to recover for the portion of the injuries which you did not cause. Ultimately, your ability to recover for accidents in which you contributed may depend on your jurisdiction and its regulations. If you have been injured in an accident, it may be beneficial to consult with an accident personal injury lawyer to determine which negligence theory governs in your particular area. Determining which theory dictates the outcome of your case may be an essential first step to recovery.  

What should I do after an accident to help my case?

Injuries can be frustrating and embarrassing for victims. Dealing with accident claims may take significant amounts of time and energy. Due to the seriousness of some injuries, victims should know what to do after an accident so that they can recover as quickly as possible. When filing a claim in court, victims bear the burden of proving their assertions with documentation and testimony. Gathering this evidence may be difficult, especially if you do not know what documentation you need to preserve beforehand.

Luckily, there are some proactive steps that victims can take to prove their accident claim to the court. These steps include, but are not limited to, the following:

Seek Medical Treatment

Victims should seek medical attention immediately after an accident. Some accidents can cause serious injuries. Victims should consult with a medical professional as soon as possible to evaluate their general well-being and preserve any potential evidence. During your medical visit, your doctor will likely draft a report of your injuries, which may be helpful in proving your injuries to the court.

File a Report

Documentation is imperative in injury cases involving damages and fault. If contacted, the responding police officer will draft a report of the specifics of the accident. The report will likely include information about witnesses, injuries, and property damage. This police report may be a crucial piece of evidence if you later wish to pursue a legal case against the responsible party.  

Take Pictures

If possible, you should take pictures of any important evidence, including pictures of your injuries and the scene of the accident. A judge will likely appreciate any visual proof that you can provide when presenting your case.

Collect Witness Information

Witnesses are extremely important. An eyewitness may be able to corroborate your testimony of what caused the accident. If any witnesses saw the accident, you should ask for their names and contact information.

Record Expenses

You should keep a detailed list of any expenses related to the accident. Expenses may include medical bills, repair orders, or lost wages.

Speak with an Attorney

Accident cases may require extensive legal analysis. These cases are often complex. If you have been injured in an accident, it may be beneficial to speak with an attorney who may be able to help you collect evidence and prove your claim in court.

How can an injury lawyer help me pursue my claim?

If you were injured in an accident, you may be entitled to legal compensation. Even though it may be possible to win a lawsuit without the help of an attorney, consulting with a legal professional may greatly increase your odds of recovering for your injuries. Cases involving comparative or contributory negligence theories can require extensive legal analysis and research. As previously explained, different negligence theories may apply to your claim depending on the jurisdiction in which you live and where the accident occurred.

Thus, it may be helpful to retain an attorney to help you seek the highest compensation possible for your injuries. Injury lawyers may be able to help you and your case succeed. Injury attorneys can help in many ways, including the following:

Determine Applicable Laws

Different jurisdictions have different laws that govern many aspects of accident claims. For instance, different jurisdictions commonly impose varying statute of limitations for accident claims. Unfortunately, if you do not file your complaint within the allotted time period, you may be unable to bring your claim at all. In addition to filing deadlines, different states employ different negligence theories. An accident personal injury lawyer may be able to help you understand and apply the correct laws to your claim.

Assess Party Liability

An experienced lawyer may be able to help you assess the facts of your individual claim and allocate party fault accordingly. In many claims, designating liability amongst multiple parties proves to be a daunting task because such designations require a deep understanding of injury law and jurisdictional discrepancies. A lawyer may be able to help you determine who or what may be responsible for your injuries. Additionally, an injury attorney may be able to assist you in determining potential compensation for your injuries based upon each party’s percentage of fault, even if you were partially at fault for the accident.

Assist in Evidence Collection and Organization

In accident cases, an evidentiary record of the victim’s injuries is imperative to establishing a causal link for liability. Documentation provides an important paper trail for any individual who sustains bodily injury from an accident. Unavoidably, as time passes, involved parties and eyewitnesses alike begin to forget important facts about an incident. Even though a detail may not seem relevant at the time, it may become extremely important if you later choose to pursue damages.

Consequently, it is critical that you document every detail of the accident immediately after it happens. An injury attorney may be able to help you collect this evidence and organize it in preparation for litigation. Ultimately, an attorney may be able to ease this evidentiary burden and help move your claim forward.

Potentially Negotiate a Fair Settlement

A responsible party may have an insurance policy to cover their liability in the case of an accident. These insurance policies may provide an appropriate avenue for redress. When dealing with these large companies, experience is extremely important, especially when attempting to negotiate a fair settlement. An experienced lawyer may be able to assist you in conducting negotiations with the defendant’s insurance company to help you seek a fair settlement amount.

CALL ZINDA LAW GROUP TODAY

Injuries can be life-altering for victims. Some injuries may even require life-long treatment, which can burden victims emotionally and financially. Accident claims can require substantial legal analysis and research, depending on the complexity of the case. If you or a loved one was injured in an accident, you should contact an accident personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced personal injury attorney may be able to help you seek legal recourse, evaluate your claim’s merits, and negotiate a fair settlement for your injuries.

At Zinda Law Group, we have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you pursue the highest compensation possible. Zinda Law Group may be able to provide you with personalized and quality consultation about the specifics of your legal claim. The sooner you contact our office, the better we may be able to serve you.

If you or a loved one was injured in an accident, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers. You don’t owe us anything unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.

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