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Understanding Comparative Fault in Personal Injury Claims

Personal Injury

Accidents caused by other people are more common than we’d like to imagine. Each year, millions of Americans are injured and someone else is to blame. A personal injury claim is an accident that was caused by the negligence of another individual or company.

While not everyone injured in an accident chooses to file for compensation, many do. However, understanding the rules around making a claim can be difficult. Not only do you need to know whether you are entitled to make a claim and how long you have to make it, but you also need to understand what comparative fault is.

What You Need to Know About Filing a Personal Injury Claim

Here are some of the things you need to be aware of when making a personal injury claim:

  • Time limits – most personal injury claims have a time limit of three years. If you do not file it in this time, you will be unable to make a claim.
  • Your injuries – to make a claim, you must have suffered financially as well as physically.
  • Whether you want to sue or settle – before filing a claim you will need to decide whether you would prefer to settle out of court.
  • Who was to blame – the injury you sustained must have been caused entirely or partially by someone else. However, if the person you are filing a claim against was not entirely to blame, they may argue comparative fault.

What is Comparative Fault in Personal Injury Claims?

Before filing a personal injury claim, you must understand what comparative fault is. Comparative fault is a legal defense that defendants can use to reduce the extent of damages a plaintiff can recover in a negligence-based claim. If a defendant uses this defense, the case will go to trial and will be decided based on the extent to which the claimant’s own negligence contributed to the accident.

Different Types of Comparative Fault

There are three main types of comparative fault in the U.S. These include:

  • Pure comparative negligence – this rule allows the claimant to recover damages even if they were almost fully responsible for the accident. The plaintiff can recover as little as 1% of the damages in this type of case.
  • Modified comparative negligence – this rule disallows plaintiffs from recovering damages if they are deemed at fault beyond a certain percentage.
  • Slight/Gross negligence – this rule is only recognized in South Dakota. In this rule, the amount a plaintiff is awarded is more significant if their contribution to the accident is slight and the defendant’s contribution is gross.

Thousands of personal injury accidents occur in the U.S. each year. However, very few people seek compensation for their injuries. One main reason for this is that they do not think they’ll be entitled. The great news is that you should be entitled to compensation as long as you meet the conditions listed above. If you’re still unsure whether or not you are entitled to make a claim, visit our offices at:

  • Astoria – 32-72 Steinway St, Astoria, NY 11103
  • Brooklyn – 7113 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11209
  • Syosset – 175 Jericho Turnpike, Syosset, NY 11791

Call now for a free consultation on (347) 472-5080.