Fault in a car accident is not always cut-and-dry. Fortunately, New York comparative negligence laws allow drivers seriously injured in a car accident to collect compensation from the at-fault party, even if they also contributed to causing the crash.
What does New York State law say about comparative negligence?
New York State operates under car accident laws known as pure comparative negligence statutes. This allows drivers who suffered serious injuries in a crash to recover damages even if they contributed to causing the wreck. A driver can contribute to an accident, or his injuries, in a number of ways, including:
- Not wearing a seatbelt
- Distracted driving
- Failing to use turn signals
- Not wearing a motorcycle helmet
- Not having the proper lights or reflectors on a bicycle
- Not following all traffic rules on a bicycle
While some states have modified comparative negligence systems that only allow injured parties to collect compensation if they are less than 50 percent at-fault, New York’s pure comparative negligence laws allow seriously injured drivers to claim damages even when they are mostly at-fault. This means that drivers who are 99 percent at fault can still collect a payout to cover one percent of the cost of their injuries and property damage.
How does this affect recovery after an accident?
In a contributory negligence state like New York, being partially negligent does not bar you from collecting compensation for your damages. However, it does reduce the amount of compensation available to you. This reduction is in proportion to your level of fault.
For example, if another driver fails to yield at a green light and turns left in front of you this driver is at-fault in the crash. But if you were speeding, you also contributed to causing the wreck. A jury might find the other driver 60 percent at-fault and you 40 percent at-fault. If your damages totaled $100,000, you could collect up to 60 percent of that, or $60,000.
Consider an accident in which you are mostly at fault. For example, if you ran a red light, but the other driving was not wearing a seat belt, the investigation may find you 97 percent at fault for the accident and the other driver’s injuries, while he would be three at fault. You would still be eligible to recover three percent of your damages.
How can a lawyer help me get full compensation for my injuries?
The only way to ensure you receive full compensation after serious injuries in a New York State car accident is to build a strong case that solidly places all fault for the accident on the other driver. This requires the help of a knowledgeable Long Island car accident attorney who can collect and present evidence against the other party while also safeguarding your rights to fair compensation.
If you suffered serious injuries in a New York State car crash and need compensation to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and more, contact Goldstein & Bashner at 516-222-4000 today. We offer free case evaluations, and you never pay until we settle your case.