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What Is Comparative Negligence?

Many accident victims think that if they have some responsibility for an accident, they cannot file a personal injury lawsuit and recover compensation for their injuries. That’s not true. New York is a comparative negligence state.

In NYC, an accident victim can still recover money for their injuries even if they have some responsibility for the accident. The amount the accident victim recovers will simply be lowered in proportion to the amount they are at fault.

Comparative Negligence in Motor Vehicle Cases

Here are some ways that comparative negligence comes into play in car accident injury claims.

  • Automobile Accidents – When a car accident happens, drivers inevitably point fingers at each other. Determining fault can be challenging. Comparative fault allows the injured party to collect damages that are proportional to their percentage of fault. For example, a truck driver fails to stop a stop sign while the driver of a car is distracted. The truck driver might be 80% at fault and the car driver might be 20% at fault. In this case, the driver of the car can recover 80% of their damages.
  • Seat Belts and Comparative Negligence – In New York, wearing a seat belt is the law. If someone fails to wear a seatbelt and is injured in an automobile accident, the insurance carrier and/or the lawyers for the defendant will argue that the plaintiff’s injuries could have been prevented had they been wearing a seat belt.
  • Motorcycle Accidents – The same holds for motorcycle accidents in which the rider was not wearing a helmet. The insurance carrier and/or the lawyers for the defendant will argue that the plaintiff’s injuries could have been prevented had they been wearing a helmet.
  • Bicycle Accidents – If a bicyclist was not wearing a helmet, the insurance carrier and/or the lawyers for the defendant will argue that the plaintiff’s injuries could have been prevented had they been wearing a helmet. Or maybe a bicyclist was not wearing reflective clothing or was not riding a marked bike lane.
  • Pedestrian Accidents A pedestrian might’ve crossed in the middle of the street or against the light.

Comparative Negligence in Premises Cases

Comparative negligence is not limited to auto accidents. Premises liability claims, such as slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents, often involve comparative negligence. A few examples of comparative negligence with a slip-and-fall accident include the following.

  • Was wearing inappropriate footwear
  • Was talking on their cell phone or was distracted
  • Was carrying boxes or bags
  • Did not watch where they were going
  • Did not heed warnings about wet floor or other danger
  • Did not use handrails

Speak with a Comparative Negligence Attorney

New York’s comparative negligence law can either help or hurt your personal injury accident case, which is why you need an experienced personal injury accident attorney on your side.

The law office of Greenstein & Milbauer, LLP has over 25 years of experience in handling accident cases. We will collect surveillance video, obtain accident reports, interview eyewitnesses, and obtain your hospital and medical records.

If you or a loved one was the victim of an accident, the personal injury accident attorneys at Greenstein & Milbauer, LLP want to help. Our team is skilled at making sure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Our firm’s motto is, “Don’t Be A Victim Twice.” If you are a victim of an accident, call 1-800-VICTIM2 (842-8462) to schedule a confidential consultation. The call is free and so is the consultation, and you don’t pay us unless we are successful.

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