Negligence is at the core of every personal injury accident claim. Who caused the accident? Who was at fault? And what happens if both parties share at least some of the blame for the accident? Not every personal injury claim is as simple and straightforward as you may think.
When more than one party is responsible for an accident
The first step in a personal injury claim is to demonstrate that another person was negligent and that their negligence caused or contributed to an accident. Negligence can be exhibited in different ways, such as careless behavior or a disregard for another person’s safety. When there is shared fault for an accident—both parties were negligent in some way—then both parties are considered responsible for the accident.
Comparative negligence laws will impact the level of damages you may recover
In cases where more than one party is responsible for an accident, New York follows the rules of comparative negligence. Under these rules, the jury determines the degree of fault each person had for the accident. For example, if one driver drove through a stop sign and the other driver made an illegal right on the red turn and then got into an accident, both drivers were negligent, and both contributed to the accident. The jury must then determine what level of fault each of them bears.
Under comparative negligence rules, the amount of compensation the injured party may receive will be reduced by an amount that reflects their level of fault for the accident. So, if
one driver is 30% responsible for the accident, then the damages they may recover are reduced by 30% (a $100,000 damage award will be reduced to $70,000).
When there are multiple defendants in a personal injury case, things can get complicated quickly. To recover the maximum compensation for your accident injuries, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who will advise you on the best course of action.