What If I Was Partially Responsible for My Car Accident?
Driving is an inherently dangerous activity. When you consider the average car weighs more than 4,000 pounds and the average speed limit (in New York) is nearly 60 mph, it’s no surprise that auto accidents are one of the leading causes of unintentional injury and death.
If you were involved in a collision and you were partially at-fault, you may still be able to recover compensation for medical bills, property repairs, and other damages. Since personal injury protection (PIP) is mandatory in New York, you may be able to bring a claim against your own PIP policy no matter who caused the crash. However, if your case meets the serious injury threshold and you intend to seek compensation from a negligent party, the fact that you were partially responsible could reduce your net recovery.
New York follows a pure comparative fault rule, which means the settlement or verdict in a personal injury case is reduced by the plaintiff’s own percentage of fault. It also means you can pursue damages even if you were 99 percent responsible, which differs New York from modified comparative negligence states, where plaintiffs are barred from recovering damages if they were 50 percent or 51 percent liable.
How Might Being Partially Responsible Complicate My Car Accident Claim?
Unfortunately, just because you have the right to seek compensation doesn’t mean recovering a payout will be easy. If you played even a minor role in the accident, the opposing party may try to blame you entirely for the crash or might dispute how fault is apportioned, arguing that you should be assigned a higher percentage of liability.
The best way to avoid or counter such a dispute is by gathering sufficient evidence of liability. Such evidence may include:
- Photographs of the accident scene;
- Deposition from eyewitnesses and the people involved in the wreck;
- Deposition from an accident reconstruction expert;
- Video recordings of the accident;
- Cell phone records; and
- The police report.
What Kinds of Damages Can I Seek by Filing a Car Accident Claim?
In New York personal injury claims, the following damages might be recoverable:
- Past and future medical expenses;
- Lost wages and benefits;
- Home care;
- Alternative transportation;
- Property damage;
- Pain and suffering;
- Mental anguish;
- Loss of enjoyment in life; and
- Physical impairment and disfigurement.
If the party who caused your injury acted with wanton recklessness; malice; willful negligence; a high degree of immorality; conscious disregard for your rights, health, or safety; or fraudulent or dishonest intentions that implied criminal indifference to civil obligations, it may also be possible to obtain punitive damages. And if your spouse has suffered a loss of intimacy, care, or companionship, they may be entitled to compensation for loss of consortium.
Call 716-855-3761 for a Free Consultation with a New York Car Accident Lawyer
If you were hurt in an auto accident, contact LoTempio P.C. Law Group to determine the most strategic way to proceed. We are dedicated to getting our clients the results they deserve even if that means taking the fight all the way to trial. Call 716-855-3761 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free case evaluation with a car accident attorney in New York.