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Understanding New York's Pure Comparative Fault

Posted on in Personal Injury

The circumstances of an accident that results in an injury are not always clear cut. When most people think of a personal injury suit, they imagine one injured party seeking compensation from one defendant--the negligent party-- who is completely at fault. However, what happens if the actions of multiple parties contributed to a dangerous accident?Or if the injured party had a hand in the circumstances that harmed them?

In these more complicated cases, New York's comparative fault law isused to properly assign fault to all involved parties. Under comparative fault, responsible parties who are contesting their role in an accident are assigned a percentage of fault decided by a jury. That percentage of fault is then subtracted from any awarded compensation.

To demonstrate how comparative fault works, the following hypothetical car accident case involved three injured drivers. A jury awarded each of the drivers $10,000 for their injuries and damages but also found that fault was shared between them.

In this hypothetical car accident case, the jury determined that:

  • Driver A was not at fault, so she receives the full $10,000
  • Driver B was 20% at fault, so he receives $8,000
  • Driver C was 80% at fault, so she receives $2,000

As you can see, the available $10,000 for each driver was reduced by their assigned percentage of fault. Only driver A, who was found not to be atfault, received the full $10,000.

Pure Comparative Fault

In the above example, note that driver C, who was found to be 80% at fault,was still able to recover money. While some states enforce a 50 or 51%cut-off rule when awarding compensation, injured parties who are up to99% at fault can still recover money under New York's pure comparative fault laws.

While comparative fault adds a much-needed flexibility and nuance to personal injury suits, the 99% poses an added challenge to these suits. Without a properly prepared claim and assertive counsel, compensation for the plaintiff can be unfairly reduced by the assertions of the defendant.

AtIvey Barnum & O'Mara LLC, our assertive and vigilant team of New York personal injury attorneys knows how to face these risks in open court and properly assert the facts.This aggressive approach to our work has allowed us to recover millions of dollars on behalf of the injury victims who have chosen us for counsel.

If you've been hurt due to someone's negligence, get a proven advocate on your side. Contact us today to request a free case evaluation.

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