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Whenever a party is being charged with causing an accident or injury through negligent or wrongful conduct, a common defense raised by defendants and insurance companies is that the injured plaintiff’s own negligence was a contributing factor to the accident or injury. If the jury becomes convinced this is the case, it can dramatically affect the plaintiff’s ability to recover compensation for his or her injuries.
Traditionally, states followed the doctrine of contributory negligence, which held that any negligence at all on the part of the plaintiff would prohibit the plaintiff from recovering a penny from the defendant. Only five states still follow this rule. The others have adopted some form of comparative negligence, in which case a plaintiff who was partially to blame can still recover from a negligent defendant, although the recovery is reduced so that it is proportional to the defendant’s share of the negligence, as assigned by the jury.
In some states, a plaintiff who is partially at fault can recover as long as he or she is not more negligent than the defendant, i.e. 50% or less. In other states, the plaintiff can only recover if he or she is less negligent than the defendant, i.e. 49% or less. New York, however, is one of about 13 states which follows a pure comparative negligence rule. In New York, an injured plaintiff can recover from a negligent defendant regardless of the amount of fault attributed to the plaintiff. In other words, a plaintiff who is said to be 90% to blame for causing an accident can still recover for damages caused by a defendant who was 10% at fault, although the recovery will be reduced by 90%.
Comparative negligence can be raised by the defense in just about any personal injury case, such as the following:
Successfully pursuing a personal injury case requires the plaintiff’s lawyer to prove the defendant’s negligence while also defending against claims that the plaintiff was also negligent. New York City attorney Leandros Vrionedes understands how to prepare and present a personal injury case which persuades the jury of the correct interpretation of the facts. If you have been injured in an accident involving another’s negligence, contact Leandros A. Vrionedes, P.C. for a free consultation regarding the liability of the responsible party.