If you have been injured, you might hear things like “partially at fault,” “somewhat responsible,” or “comparative negligence.” But, what do these terms mean in relation to your injury claim? In this article, we take a look at comparative negligence and how it affects a personal injury claim.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
Comparative negligence is a principle that is used in tort law in order to allocate fault between two parties. This principle examines the roles of all parties involved. Then, a percentage of fault is assigned to each party involved.
Who Uses Comparative Negligence?
Comparative negligence isn’t a factor in every case. Many times, an insurance company representing the at-fault party will try to use comparative negligence. By saying you are at least partially responsible for your injury, the company can try to reduce the money it owes you.
We’ve seen insurance companies try to blame innocent people all the time. If you’re talking to the insurance company and they ask you to guess how much of the injury was your fault – stop! Making any statement like this will be held against you. Immediately talk to an injury attorney for advice.
When Does Comparative Negligence Matter?
If you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligence, comparative negligence could block you from the money you deserve. Insurance adjusters that represent the at-fault party will attempt to trip you up. You might say something in a recorded statement that could be held against you. Remember, insurance companies want to keep their money – the company will use any excuse to avoid paying you.
What Types Of Injury Cases Use Comparative Negligence?
In our experience, nearly any injury claim can involve a question of comparative negligence. The most common types of cases where insurance companies try to introduce comparative negligence are premises liability and vehicle accident claims.
Premises Liability Cases
Typically, the defense in a premises liability claim will usually try to blame the injured victim. We see this tactic a lot in dog attacks and slip and fall claims. Insurance companies will try to blame you for not avoiding the injury.
Car Accident Injury Claims
We’ve also represented car accident injury claims with clear fault, but the defendant’s insurance will try to assign some blame to the injured driver. Claims involving the at-fault driver running a red light, or rear-ending another driver; the defendant’s insurance will try to put some of the blame on the injured victim. It’s appalling!
Comparative Negligence Rule In Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, we follow a modified comparative negligence rule for injury claims. If the injured party is 51% or more responsible for their injury, the claim could be dismissed.
Jury Verdicts And Comparative Negligence
A jury can decide comparative negligence, too. When a jury submits a verdict for damages, it might also assign a percentage of fault. If the jury decides an injury is worth $100,000 but finds the injured plaintiff is 20% responsible, the plaintiff would receive $80,000.
Comparative Negligence Adds Up
In the example above you can see how comparative negligence can disrupt an injury claim. The savings quickly add up for insurance companies. Having an experienced injury attorney will help you keep more of the money you deserve.
How An Injury Attorney Can Help You
If you are injured because of someone else’s negligence, talk to an injury attorney about your situation. Injury attorneys have experience in negotiating injury claims. Having the right attorney can make a BIG difference in the amount your claim is worth.
Injury attorneys use their legal education and experience to help prove how much your claim is worth. Additionally, your attorney will work directly with the insurance company to protect your interests. This takes a lot of stress off you as you heal.
Finally, your injury attorney doesn’t get paid unless you get paid. Your attorney charges a percentage of your settlement as a fee.
Find A Personal Injury Attorney Near You
Haggerty & Silverman is your trusted personal injury attorney in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Contact us today for a free consultation with an injury attorney.