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Partially at Fault? You Can Still Receive Compensation

texting while driving

More and more New York City drivers are distracted behind the wheel. Whether texting, talking on the phone, or eating, drivers are not focused on the road as they should be. But what happens if your own carelessness contributes to your crash? Will you be able to bring a lawsuit, or will you have to shoulder the financial fallout of being injured? Fortunately, New Yorkers whose negligence contributes to an accident can still receive compensation for injuries suffered in a car accident, but they will receive less money.

Comparative Negligence 

New York law recognizes that sometimes a victim’s own negligence contributes to an accident. Consider the following example:

You are stopped at an intersection, preparing to make a left-hand turn, when you look down to see if your mother has responded to your text message. A driver coming in the other direction is speeding to beat the red light. As you make your turn, the car tears through the intersection and crashes into you, causing broken bones and a concussion.

Based on these facts, the other driver is at fault—but so are you, because you were distracted by your phone when trying to make your left-hand turn. Nevertheless, you can still sue for financial compensation even though you contributed to the collision.

At one time, New York law prohibited anyone from receiving compensation if they were even 1% responsible for their injuries. Now the law has changed so that you can receive compensation even if you were 99% responsible. So long as someone else was at least 1% responsible, you can receive compensation.

Reduced Compensation 

Although you can bring a lawsuit, you will receive less in compensation if you contributed to the accident. In fact, your money damages will be reduced by your proportion of fault.

Return to the above example. The jury might have found that you were 40% responsible for the accident and the other driver was 60%. If your injuries are worth $50,000, you will only receive $30,000 maximum in compensation. Had you been 80% responsible, you would only receive $10,000.

Comparative Negligence and Settlements 

Most car accident disputes are settled out of court. Nevertheless, you should expect the other driver’s insurance company to bring up whether your own negligence contributed to the accident. For example, they might have video of you talking on your phone right before the accident, or you might admit to it. If so, you can expect the insurance company to reduce the amount of compensation they offer you. For this reason, it is vital that you work with an experienced Brooklyn car accident lawyer who can minimize your own negligence and maximize the amount of compensation you receive.

Legal Help is Available 

At the Law Offices of David J. Hernandez & Associates, we work with accident victims to help them begin rebuilding their lives. Our attorneys carefully review the factual record to determine whether your own negligence contributed to your accident, and then we get to work building a case against the other driver. Our attorneys have secured numerous favorable settlements on behalf of our clients, and we are here to help you. Contact us today for your free case evaluation.


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