In most personal injury suits, there is one plaintiff seeking relief for
their injuries and one defendant blamed for the accident that harmed them.
However, accidents can be more complex than this. Sometimes there are
multiple people at fault. Sometimes the plaintiff partially contributed
to their own injury.
In this more nuanced and complex cases, New York's "pure comparative
fault" law comes into play. Comparative fault allows the court to
determine what percentage of fault each involved party should shoulder
following an accident. That percentage is then subtracted from the awarded
proceeds each involved party receives.
To demonstrate how comparative fault works, let's look at a hypothetical
example: three motorists are involved with a multi-car pile-up and each
has been found to share a certain degree of fault for the accident. All
of them also have injuries or damages. For the sake of simplicity, let’s
also say that jury has awarded each driver $10,000 for their hardships
following the accident.
In this example, compensation could be handed down in the following way:
- Driver A is found to be 10% at fault - she receives $9,000
- Driver B is found to be 15% at fault - he receives $8,500
- Driver C is found to be 75% at fault - he receives $2,500
As you can see, each driver's optimal compensation, $10,000, was reduced
by the degree of fault assigned to them by the court. In this way, all
involved parties receive something, but the value of their compensation
is dictated by how responsible they were for the accident occurring.
"Pure" Comparative Fault
Unlike many other states, New York has a "pure" version of comparative
fault. This means that no matter what their assigned degree of fault is,
an individual can still receive money. This is different than other states'
"modified" comparative fault, which prevents parties who are
primarily responsible for an accident from collecting money.
You can see this in the example above: Driver C clearly was chiefly responsible
for the traffic accident (75%), but through pure comparative fault, he
was still able to recover some money for other drivers' minimal roles
in the accident. While this is a forgiving system, it can also mean fault
can be wrongly asserted back at the injured parties by defendants. That
is why it is so crucial to have assertive and incisive representation
by your side.
If you have been hurt in an accident that was caused by someone else, then
we invite you to contact
The Rossi Law Firm today. Our aggressive, award-winning Long Island personal injury lawyers
have time and time again ensured that best interests of the injured have
been spoken for and that maximum compensation for their hardships have
been exhaustively pursued.
Start exploring your injury suit options today.
Contact us to request a free case evaluation.