Can I Recover for Auto Accident Injuries if I Am Partially at Fault?
Auto accidents often have multiple contributing factors, especially today when more potential driver distractions exist than ever before. If you’ve been hurt in a vehicle crash, do not let minor fault on your part prevent you from asserting your legal rights. Unlike the residents of some states, New Jersey residents who own traditional fault-based policies can still recover even if they are partly responsible for the collision. Likewise, drivers with no-fault policies can obtain compensation from the other party if that driver is deemed to bear a majority of the legal responsibility.
Damages arising out of auto accidents can include payment for medical costs, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. New Jersey’s comparative negligence law sets forth guidelines on how to resolve cases where more than one person might be liable, including:
- Percentage determination of fault — Insurance companies investigate accident claims and issue a determination assigning a numerical percentage to each party’s fault. If an acceptable agreement cannot be reached on the relative percentages, it becomes an issue to be decided in court.
- Majority responsibility — States have different rules on whether partially responsible victims are entitled to relief. The New Jersey regulation states that someone can recover damages as long as they are not more at fault than the parties they are litigating against.
- Diminishment of damages — The compensation you collect from the other party is reduced by the percentage of fault that you are assigned. For instance, if you sustain $1,000,000 in damages and are held to be 20 percent responsible, your recovery would be $800,000.
If you’ve been in a car crash, an experienced auto accident attorney can review each relevant factor and circumstance to assess how fault might be allocated in your case. If a dispute exists over the determination, a dedicated lawyer can advocate on your behalf.
Seigel Law represents motor vehicle accident victims in Bergen County and throughout New Jersey. Contact us online or call 201.444.4000 today for a free case evaluation.