More than one person may be accused of negligence in a personal injury case. Sometimes, all parties involved contribute to the accident. These cases are determined through partial fault. If contributory negligence (i.e., the injured party contributed to his injury through his own negligence) is applied, then no one could receive compensation. However, if comparative negligence is applied, then the amount of fault (and damages) is determined through percentages.
Comparative Negligence and Partial Fault
Consider a case in which two cars get into an accident: one is driving without headlights and one is speeding, on a foggy night. Both drivers contributed to the accident, but a jury may decide who contributed more to the accident. Suppose the speeding driver was moving at such a rate that the jury deemed her 60% at-fault for the accident, leaving the driver without his lights on with 40% of the negligence. If the second driver sought $20,000 in damages, he would lose 40% of those damages according to the percentage of his liability, leaving him with $12,000. In some states, the first driver would receive no compensation at all, since she contributed to over 50% of the accident.
Determining and defending partial fault in a personal injury case takes tremendous legal knowledge and experience, and is best left up to a personal injury attorney. If you have been involved in an accident, get the help you need and contact an experienced personal injury lawyer today.