The light was green.
At least you thought it was green.
You had the right of way through the intersection.
A witness to the accident didn't see it that way.
Instead, you actually had a yellow light. The light turned red as you were in the middle of the intersection.
You never saw the car that hit you. It T-boned your car on the passenger side. At 45 miles per hour.
Your car was propelled 120 feet out of the intersection and you flipped over 2 times. You needed to be extracted by firefighters using the jaws of life hydralic tool to separate the metal, steel and aluminum of what's left of your car.
You suffered fractured ribs. You had internal bleeding. You broke your femur.
You needed surgery to stop the internal bleeding. You needed surgery to fix the fractured bone in your leg. You're now left with a permanent steel rod and titanium screws holding your leg together. You will be in the hospital for at least 3 weeks recuperating and then will need 4 weeks of rehabilitation.
You thought you had the right of way.
You thought you had the green light.
The driver of the car that hit you says he had the green light.
You want to bring a lawsuit against the careless driver.
But after learning about what this witness saw regarding where you were in the intersection, you wonder if you're still able to bring a lawsuit if you were partially at fault.
Your friends say no. Your family says yes.
You go online and can't find the answer to this question.
Well, in today's article, I will share with you the correct answer for accidents here in New York...
The answer is, "Yes, you can sue even if you were partially at fault."
If you believe someone else was careless and caused your injuries, you have a legal right to bring a lawsuit seeking to be compensated for all of the harms and losses you suffered. It's as if the person who was careless and negligent incurred a debt that must be repaid to you.
When you bring a lawsuit the attorney who represents the driver who caused you harm will try and raise certain defenses.
First, he will likely say...
- "My client is not at fault at all."
- "If my client is at fault, you were also at fault."
- "If my client is at fault and we have to pay, the value of your injuries are not really as significant as you claim them to be."
These are three typical and common defenses we see in these types of accident cases.
During the course of the lawsuit, each side has an opportunity to learn about the facts from the drivers of each car, from witnesses, from police reports and from the medical records.
If it turns out that you, the injured victim, did contribute to the happening of your accident then that will be taken into account as you begin to try and negotiate a settlement.
If you are unable to settle your case during the litigation, then at trial, a jury will be asked to apportion liability. That's a fancy legal term for meaning that the jury will need to decide what percentage you are at fault for causing your own injuries. They will also decide what percentage the other driver was also at fault.
Combined, the total can only equal 100%.
If the jury determines that you are 50% at fault and the other driver is also 50% at fault then the amount you ultimately receive will be reduced by this percentage.
Here's what this really means...
As an example, if the jury decides you should be compensated a total of $1 Million dollars for your pain and the suffering you endured, you will not get the full amount. Since the jury has determined that you are 50% responsible for causing your accident, then you can only receive 50% of the total amount. In this case, it would be $500,000.