Sit down with any personal injury attorney for a talk, and you'll quickly learn that very few cases are ever as simple as "Person A was 100% at fault." This may have you wondering, though, what might happen to your case if your conduct contributed to the incident in question. Here are three factors a personal injury lawyer will consider as they look at such a case.
Does Strict Liability Apply?
A handful of situations involve what is known as strict liability. In these situations, the question is simply, "Did someone get hurt?" If they did, then the defendant is likely to be liable for the entirety of the damages in the case.
Suppose your new neighbor is the legendary Florida Man, and he and his pet alligator have moved in next door to your place. The laws in most states assign strict liability to injury cases involving wild animals that people take on as pets because owning a wild animal is an invitation for human injuries to occur. Consequently, when Florida Man's alligator finds its way into a neighbor's swimming pool and bites someone, Florida Man will be on the hook for all the damages.
Were Your Actions Negligent, Reckless, or Malicious?
It's one thing to be involved in an incident. It's quite another thing for your involvement to be negligent. After all, the very fact you're filing a claim presupposes you were involved.
Suppose a visitor slipped on a wet patch while running through a hallway in a university building. The wet patch was left on the floor because a janitor had been through and forgot to put up a caution sign after mopping. If a claims adjuster or a jury had to assess liability, they'd have to consider how fast the person was running and how reckless it might have been to be running under the circumstances.
How Does Contributory Negligence Affect the Case?
Even if your conduct contributed to injuries you suffered, that doesn't mean your claim is automatically thrown out. Instead, your contribution will be balanced against the contribution of the liable party. The claimant's contribution will then be subtracted from the total claim.
Note that many states have thresholds for being able to claim anything. To get compensation, 51% responsibility on the part of the defendant is usually necessary. A few states use a purely contributory model, meaning that even 1% liability by the defendant is enough to justify a claim. The award would simply deduct 99% from the total damages.
If you have more questions, contact a personal injury attorney near you.Share
13 March 2020
If you are injured in an accident, what is your first move? While getting medical care should be your first priority, the fact of the matter is that working with the right lawyer can be incredibly helpful in making it easier to prevent problems. For starters, your lawyer can talk with you about what to do in order to prevent problems with your paperwork, and he or she can chat with you about what to do when you start getting calls from other attorneys talking about the case. On this website, check out great tips and tricks you can use to prevent problems with your recovery from a financial perspective.