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What Is Comparative Fault In A New York Personal Injury Case

Written by
Abraham Jaros
Updated on Thursday, Oct 19, 2023

When you suffer an injury in a New York Personal Injury case, the first and major part of the case is determining who is at fault, this is called “liability”. In a personal injury case, you must prove that the other party was negligent and that this negligence caused your injury. The concept of “that this negligence caused your injury” is referred to as “proximate cause” in the legal system. Lawyers will simply say that the accident was the proximate cause of your injuries.

New York, many years ago, was a “contributory negligence” case. This meant that if you were even 1% at fault for your accident then you could not recover anything-you lost. Since this was obviously not very fair to many injured parties the law was changed.

New York then became a “comparative negligence” state. This means that if you are assigned a percentage of fault for the happening of the accident, then your recovery is reduced by the percentage of your negligence.

How Comparative Negligence Works

When you are injured in any kind of accident most of the fault might lie with the other party. Yet you, too, might bear some percentage of responsibility for the accident.

For example, if you were struck in the rear by another vehicle, while you were simply stopped at a red light, it is clear that the other driver is 100% responsible and you should therefore recover 100% of your damages as you did nothing wrong. If, however, it is an intersection collision, and each driver then claims to have had the green light in their favor, then some percentage of the negligence may be assigned to you as well as to the other driver.

If there are “issues” with regard to the question of liability the courts, insurance companies, and the attorneys will assign a percentage of fault to each party. Perhaps the other side is the negligent party and is 90% at-fault and you are only 10% at-fault. Whatever injury award you ultimately receive will be reduced by the 10% that you were negligent.

During the settlement process, obviously, the defense will try to argue that your percentage of the fault, or negligence, should be a large percentage, while your lawyer will try to argue to keep it as low as possible.

So, if your damages are valued at $100,000 and if you are found to be 50% at fault for the accident then you will receive only $50,000. If, however you are found to be only 10% at fault for the accident then you will receive $90,000.

As you can clearly see your percentage of liability very much affects your ultimate recovery and why insurance companies work so very hard to assign at least some of the blame to the accident victims.

If a case does not result in a settlement between the parties and proceeds to a trial then it is up to the jury to determine the percentages of fault of each party.

Getting Help Early Helps

One of the biggest mistakes that people make in personal injury cases is they wait too long. Whether it’s a fire, a construction accident, a truck accident, or a slip-and-fall, they tend to try to deal with the insurance company before they try to get a lawyer.

Your results are generally better if you call a lawyer immediately after an accident and do not try to deal with the insurance company yourself. Proper and immediate accident investigation and reconstruction can make all the difference in your case. In addition, the insurance adjusters and representatives you speak to will record and document everything you say to them about your injuries as well as the liability in your case. This is what they are trained to do. Remember, that no matter how nice or pleasant they may sound when speaking to you their only goal is to pay you as little as possible on your claim.

If you’ve been injured, don’t wait. Reach out to our office for a free consultation today. Please call to ensure that you do not waive or reduce the compensation you are entitled to.

Get the advice and guidance you and your family need

You do not have to go through this alone.

At Jaroslawicz & Jaros, we have over 40 years of experience helping accident victims in New York recover compensation. The clients we represent benefit from the personal attention of our knowledgeable and experienced attorneys.

We Have Recovered Over $2 Billion for Our Clients.

The attorneys at Jaroslawicz & Jaros have obtained verdicts and settlements of over $1 Million for hundreds of our individual clients. Since all New York personal injury law firms generally charge the same legal fee why not hire an experienced law firm with a proven track record?

When you retain the New York City accident lawyers at Jaroslawicz & Jaros, you will always work directly with your lawyer, and not with a paralegal or secretary. We will always be available to you! Our hundreds of positive client reviews and testimonials speak for themselves.

Experience and a track record of results

Contact the attorneys at Jaroslawicz & Jaros for a free legal consultation regarding your rights and your legal options. If we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis so that you don’t have to worry about any upfront costs.

Contact us today for a free consultation

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You can reach partner Abraham Jaros directly, either call his cell 917-842-9544, or email him at ajaros@lawjaros.com. Or call Jaroslawicz & Jaros at 212 227 2780 in New York, or toll free 800-269-2780, or submit an online questionnaire.

Get the help you deserve

Contact us today and start your free consultation. You can also text or call Abraham Jaros directly at 917.842.9544 or email him at ajaros@lawjaros.com.

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