When you get injured in a New York Personal Injury case, a big part of the case is determining who is at fault. In order for a personal injury case to be brought at all, one must prove that the other party was negligent.
Yet New York is a comparative negligence state. This means that you might be assigned a percentage of fault, and this can mean the loss of tens of thousands of dollars.
How Pure Comparative Negligence Works
When you are injured in any kind of accident most of the fault might lie with the negligent party. Yet you, too, might have made some mistakes.
And so the courts assign a percentage of fault to each party. Perhaps the negligent party is 90% at-fault and you are 10% at-fault.
Whatever injury award you receive will be reduced by 10%. The other party isn’t responsible for that part of the loss, and so you’ll walk away with that much less.
During the settlement process, the defense will try to argue this percentage amount up, while your own lawyer tries to argue it down. That’s why in-depth case preparation and keen negotiation skills can matter. If you have an $100,000 settlement being found 8% at fault is far better than being found 10% at-fault.
There are diminishing returns for pressing a personal injury suit when your fault starts approaching 50%. Though you can press a lawsuit at any percentage of fault, it hardly becomes worth it by the time you’re 51% at-fault or more. This is another reason why insurance companies work so very hard to assign blame to accident victims.
Getting Help Early Helps Reduce Your Fault Percentage
One of the biggest mistakes that people make in personal injury cases is they wait far 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. Some people even believe they have to get 100% better before they can call a lawyer.
We’re here to tell you that you should call a lawyer immediately. Evidence tends to dry up and disappear when the defense is given too much time. Witnesses can drop out of contact and can be impossible to find again.
Proper accident reconstruction can make all the difference, as can an in-depth and early investigation of the facts of the case.
If you’ve been injured, don’t wait. Reach out to our office for a free consultation today.