Fault, in New York and elsewhere — it is the big thing that needs to be determined following an auto collision. Unfortunately, not all car accident cases are black and white. In some cases, there is often a gray area when it comes to determining who should be held responsible. This can result in victims being accused of contributing to their own injuries or deaths.
When a victim is accused of contributing to an accident, the other party may claim comparative negligence in an effort to reduce his or her liability. Comparative negligence is just a legal term for shared fault. Here’s an example. A person waiting at a stop sign to proceed across a major road, which lacks stops signs at this particular intersection, looks to make sure they have clearance before proceeding. A driver comes speeding down the street and hits this person’s car as he or she enters the intersection.
While the one driver was speeding, he or she may claim that the other driver failed to see or failed to look, or failed to exercise appropriate caution. Who is actually at fault? Depending on the facts of the case, one driver may be held responsible, or both may share the blame. If both end up sharing the blame, either driver could seek compensation for any damages sustained in the event. How much is ultimately awarded depends on each driver’s degree of fault.
The losses often associated with a car accident can be devastating to the victim and his or her family. When a victim is blamed for contributing to the event, it can certainly make him or her or — in the event of fatality — his or her surviving family members feel that compensation for those losses is out of reach. Thanks to the laws of New York, this may not be the case, however. An experienced attorney can assist accident victims or their loved ones in seeking maximum relief, even if comparative negligence is an issue in their cases.