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What if I Contributed to My Injuries? Can I Still Sue?

Contributed to My Injuries?

New York has a specific set of negligence laws, which are used to determine personal injury claims. In order to have a successful claim, you must prove that the responsible party (the defendant) was negligent or careless and caused your injuries.

Negligence requires that a plaintiff prove four things to the courts:

  • Duty: The defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff to act responsibly.
  • Breach of Duty: The defendant then breached that duty or failed to act in a responsible way.
  • Causation: The defendant’s breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
  • Damages: The plaintiff suffered from damages (such as financial losses) because of the breach of duty.

But what if, in a personal injury case, you also contributed to your injuries, or if the other party’s insurance company is attempting to place some of the blame on you?

Contributory and Comparative Negligence Laws in New York

An attorney that handles any type of personal injury claim is ready to handle defense strategies that the defendant or their insurance company may use – including the argument that the plaintiff is partially at fault for the incident.

Contributory negligence alleges that the plaintiff played a role in the injury or accident and that they were partially negligent as well. New York is one of the 13 states that uses pure comparative fault in these types of cases. When the plaintiff and defendant are partially at-fault, the court will determine the percentage each party is at fault and then award damages based on that percentage.

Therefore, you could still contribute toward your injuries and collect compensation, but the percentage of your own fault will reduce your compensation accordingly. For example, if the courts feel you are 30 percent responsible, then your damages will be reduced by 30 percent.

When Does Comparative Negligence Apply?

Comparative negligence occurs when both parties legitimately contributed to the accident and injury. For example, you were injured in a rear-end collision, but you were not wearing your seatbelt. You broke the law and were negligent, too – by not wearing a seatbelt – which contributed to the severity of your injuries. Because the other driver still rear-ended you and caused the accident, they are ultimately responsible, but you are too because of your failure to wear a seatbelt.

Choose an Attorney That Understands Negligence Laws

It is important that you speak with an attorney who understands negligence laws if you feel that you contributed in some way toward your injuries. The attorneys at Schwartzapfel® Lawyers, P.C. can assist you with your claim. Call us for a free consultation at 1-516-342-2200 or fill out an online contact form. We will fight for you!

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