How do New York courts assess fault in personal injury cases?

Have you been injured in a car accident or a slip and fall? If you were involved in a motor vehicle accident or a slip and fall, someone else may be liable to you for your injuries.

Have you been injured in an accident?

fall-prevention-150x150Countless individuals are injured each year in car accidents and premises liability cases. How do you know whether you can make a claims against the driver of the other vehicle or the owner of the property? Read below for a quick overview.

How do New York courts assess fault in personal injury cases?

New York courts utilize a Comparative Fault approach to determine fault in negligence cases. In assessing fault, the court will reduce the amount of damages by the proportionate amount of fault. For example, if Michelle gets injured in a slip and fall accident and the fact finder determines that she was 30% at fault and her injuries were determined to be valued at $10,000, she will receive $7,000 ($10,000 minus the 30% of liability or $3,000).

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 Michelle gets injured in a slip and fall 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 personal injury case. 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 for motor vehicle accidents. For slip and fall cases, factors such as witness accounts, cell phone usage, familiarity with the premises, footwear, and weather conditions will be assessed.

Generally speaking, the injured party will need to prove that the another party was proximate cause of the injuries sustained. In slip and fall cases, it will be important to prove that the other party had notice of the hazardous or dangerous condition which caused the accident.

If you have been injured in an accident and need to speak to an attorney, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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