You should familiarize yourself with and understand the law(s) of comparative negligence and how it works if you are planning to file or be involved in a personal injury case. Comparative negligence has the potential to affect the amount of compensation you receive (or have to pay) once a verdict is reached in your case.
Comparative Negligence At A Glance
Essentially, comparative negligence means that all individuals who are parties to a personal injury case can share in the responsibility for the accident. So, even though you are one of the injured parties, you may still be found partially liable for contributing to the accident at issue. In these cases, you and the other parties to the lawsuit will each pay for your own responsibility share that caused the accident.
Comparative negligence is best illustrated by example. Suppose you are driving through a neighborhood and another driver turns into your vehicle and causes an accident. You will likely file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver to receive damages for your injuries and vehicle damage. However, if the other motorist can show that when you were driving through the intersection you failed to stop and yield at a stop sign for whatever reason, you will likely be found partially responsible for the collision and any injuries you sustained. Here, the other driver will only be responsible for paying their percentage of fault that caused the accident.
So, if the jury decides that you were 40% liable for the car accident and the other driver was 60% at fault, the other driver will only pay 60% of the total damages awarded to you. You will bear the burden of covering the remaining 40% of damages because you were 40% responsible.
You should also be aware that if you were 50% or more at fault, the other driver will not have to pay you anything. This is because you were just as (if not more) negligent that the other driver. It is not uncommon to see insurance companies try to argue that you were 50% or more at fault to avoid paying for any of your damages.
Comparative negligence will almost always be a defense raised by the other side in any accident lawsuit. This is why it is so important that you hire a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who can work to minimize your liability for the accident while providing you with the best chance of receiving the amount of damages you need to recover from your injuries.
If you or a family member were injured in a car accident, or any other personal injury case, call the Law Office of Jeremy Rosenthal. Our experienced attorneys are knowledgeable in Colorado's comparative negligence laws and can help you recover after an accident by getting you the compensation you and/or your family need to cover your injuries, while limiting your own liability. Contact the Law Office of Jeremy Rosenthal for a free consultation at (303) 647-4511 or visit us online.