March 30, 2015 • Personal Injury FAQs
What happens when you are partially at fault for causing an accident in the state of New York?
You are Partially at Fault for Causing the Accident
You have been involved in an accident and you have filed a personal injury lawsuit to claim compensation for your injuries. Your case has gone to trial, and the jury determines at end of the trial that you are partially at fault for causing or contributing to the injuries, for the harms and losses, you have suffered. The jury also determines that you are entitled to a compensation for an amount of $10,000.
Now, if the jury has determined you are 50% at fault for causing the accident, and your compensation amount is $10,000, then the maximum amount of money you can obtain because of this verdict will only be 50% of the amount that has been awarded to you. Hence, in this example you will be receiving a maximum amount of $5,000, which is 50% of $10,000 as you certainly already know.
Why is this done?
When an accident takes place, it is often difficult to determine, who or what caused the accident. In fact, one of the main elements of a personal injury case is to prove liability, which means proving who was at fault for the accident.
There are many instances in accidents where both the parties may be partially at fault for causing the accident, and therefore liability will have to be shared proportionately. Once the jury has decided the value of the case, which is the compensation that has to be awarded, then that amount will be reduced proportionately to the percentage of fault. This is because that party was partially at fault to that extent for causing the accident.
The defense on the other hand will also try to shift their blame on to the injured victim. The whole strategy of the defense will be based on proving you were totally or partially at fault for the accident, so that they can escape liability. If it is not possible for them to prove you were totally at fault for the accident, then they will try to show that you were partially responsible for causing the accident. This means their liability is not as profound, and they will have to pay a smaller amount of compensation to you.
If the jury determines that the defense is partially correct, and now you are partially at fault for causing and contributing to your injuries, then whatever amount they award to you during a jury verdict will then be reduced by the percentage of which you are found to be partially responsible. Therefore, just because you have been awarded a particular amount of compensation does not necessarily mean you will receive that full amount. Your compensation amount will be reduced to the extent you were found to be at fault for the accident.