If you were partly at fault for the car accident in which you were injured, can you recover compensation for your damages through a personal injury lawsuit?
Under Washington’s comparative negligence law, the short answer to this question is yes, but the subject is somewhat complicated. We’ll offer a brief introduction to comparative negligence in this blog post.
Traditionally, courts ruled that a person whose negligence contributed to their own damages was barred from recovery. Under this rule, people who were even 10% at fault for a car accident couldn’t recover anything from a driver who was 90% at fault.
The harsh contributory negligence rule is still the law in several states. Other states changed their laws to allow people to recover compensation even if their negligence did contribute to the accident in which they were injured.
Under Washington’s comparative negligence law, courts assign a percentage of fault to each negligent party in an accident case, and their recovery is reduced in proportion to their fault.
For instance, in a case involving a two-car accident, one driver may have been 75% responsible and the other only 25%. Technically, either can sue and recover from the other. However, the 25% responsible driver’s recovery would be reduced by 25% and the 75% responsible driver’s recovery would be reduced by 75%.
To use a term that sometimes comes up in the legal community, comparative negligence can be used as a sword or a shield. That means that it can be used by a plaintiff to recover compensation even if they were partly at fault, and it can also be used by a defendant in order to limit the amount of compensation they must pay.
Those who have been injured in a car accident can speak with experienced professionlearn more about how comparative