Have you been injured in a car accident? If you were involved in a motor vehicle accident, someone else may be liable to you for your injuries.
Countless individuals are injured each year in car accidents accidents. How do you know whether you can make a claims against the driver of the other vehicle? Read below for a quick overview.
How do New York courts assess fault in car crashes?
New York courts utilize a Comparative Fault approach to determine fault in accidents. In assessing fault, the court will reduce the amount of damages by the proportionate amount of fault. For example, if Lisa gets injured in a car accident and the fact finder determines that she was 40% at fault and her injuries were determined to be valued at $10,000, she will receive $6,000 ($10,000 minus the 40% of liability of $4,000).
Other states use different methods for determining fault. Some states, for example, use a proportional comparative fault method. With this method, if the injured party is either 50 or 51% or more at fault, they may be barred from recovering for their injuries. For example, in some states (NOT New York), if Lisa gets injured in a car accident and the fact finder determines that she was 55% at fault, she would not be able to recover in a proportionate comparative fault state.
New York state uses a method which is more favorable to injured parties than other states, but it is important to know that your damages will be reduced by the amount of fault assessed to you.
How is percentage of fault determined?
There is no magic formula for determining the percentage of fault assessed to the parties in a car accident. Courts and the fact finder will look at all the circumstances surrounding the accident. Many factors will come into play, including the traffic control devices, speed limits, weather conditions, cell phone usage and witness accounts.
Generally speaking, if one party is rear ended and the other party was following the traffic rules, the party in back is generally held liable.
Another factor that plays into the assessment of fault is the police report. It is important that you provide the police officers with an accurate account of the events which led to the accident because the police officer will use your statements in creating the police report. If one party is given a ticket or citation at the scene, that will also play a part in determining fault.
If you have been injured in an accident and need to speak to an attorney, please do not hesitate to contact us.