Can I Seek Damages if I was Partially at Fault for the Accident?

In the state of New York, all negligently injured victims have the right to seek damages from the parties and/or individuals who had contributed to their harm. As long as the plaintiff can prove that they were injured by the direct recklessness or indirect negligence of another person, they would have grounds to pursue a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. In doing so, they would have the opportunity to seek compensation for any financial losses that they have suffered—including those pertaining to medical expenses, forfeited earnings and a diminished earning capacity—and any non-economic damages that were sustained. This can include mental anguish, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, etc.

If you have believe that you have a legitimate personal injury claim, you may be wondering whether or not you would be able to seek damages if you were also at fault for causing the accident. While negligence laws will vary from state to state, New York upholds a system of pure comparative negligence. This means that the jury will listen to both sides of the story and subsequently determine who was at fault for causing the accident—whether that includes the defendant, the plaintiff or both the defendant and the plaintiff. Once the jury assigns each party a specific level of fault—which would be expressed in a percentage—the victim's financial recovery would be awarded accordingly.

If they decide that the defendant was 90% responsible, for example, the plaintiff's total reward would be diminished by 10%—as this means that the jury has found them to be 10% responsible. Since New York follows a system of "pure" comparative negligence, however, there is no limit that would bar the victim from recovering damages unless their own level of fault was greater than 99%. As such, they would still be able to secure a percentage of compensation if the jury found them to be mainly responsible for causing their own injuries. While this is good news for all negligently injured victims, it is also important to understand that this could leave you susceptible to a counter-lawsuit.

If you were to pursue a case in which you were more than 50% at fault, for example, the defendant could turn around and sue you right back. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you discuss your case with a Long Island personal injury lawyer from The Odierno Law Firm, P.C. before taking your claim to trial. In doing so, you can ensure that you have a legally sound case that will hold up against the defendant's counter arguments. If you're interested in exploring your options today, give us a call at (877) 379-5144 for a free consultation. You can also submit a free case evaluation form directly from our website if you would prefer to contact us online.