Can I File a Lawsuit When I Was Partially at Fault in an NYC Car Accident?
When people get seriously injured, they often incur significant medical expenses, face a long road to recovery, and undergo great physical pain and mental distress. Accordingly, many of these people file personal injury lawsuits to take those who injured them to task and get the financial compensation they need to bounce back from their injuries. However, in many cases, the plaintiff may also be slightly responsible for their injuries. Potential plaintiffs who think they might be partially to blame for getting injured can be hesitant to file legal claims because they think that being partially at fault will make them look irresponsible or prevent them from getting awarded damages entirely.
The reality is that you are absolutely able to file a lawsuit even if you believe you were partially responsible for your injuries. While some states will prevent plaintiffs who are partially at fault from recovering damages, New York does not. However, the defense may try and use the fact that an accident was partially your fault to try and lower the amount they will have to pay you as damages. If the accident was more than half your fault, you may be prevented from recovering damages entirely.
For a free review of your situation, call our New York car accident lawyers from The Carrion Law Firm at (718) 841-0083.
Am I allowed to File a Car Accident Lawsuit when Partially at Fault in New York?
Historically, the law was such that if someone were in any way responsible for their own injuries, they would lose any legal battle they chose to have about it after the fact. While some states still follow this archaic practice to some degree, the vast majority of states have adopted laws that do not prevent plaintiffs from being awarded damages if some of the accident was their fault. New York is one such state, and under C.V.P. Law § 1411, plaintiffs who were partially responsible for their injuries are still able to file lawsuits and recover damages.
The original idea behind limiting plaintiffs who partially caused their own injuries from recovering damages was to encourage people to act reasonably and carefully so as to not cause themselves harm. However, in many cases, this rule would prohibit very deserving plaintiffs from getting the compensation they need, so it has more or less entirely been done away with.
All that being said, it will have an effect on your case if the car accident was partially your fault. Under New York law, while you still can successfully get damages for your injuries, the amount you get will be diminished in proportion to how much you were at fault. For example, if you were 30% at fault for a car accident and the court awarded you $1,000,000 in damages, you would get $700,000 in damages instead, proportional to your contribution to the accident happening.
Dealing with Partial Fault in a New York City Car Accident Lawsuit
Since having the accident be partially your fault can cut into what you can be awarded as damages, the defendant will likely make it part of their strategy to exaggerate how much of a role you had in the accident taking place in order to drastically lower what they have to pay or if they are lucky, have you lose the case. Fortunately, our Long Island car accident lawyers are familiar with these kinds of cases and have some strategies for how to deal with a car accident lawsuit where the accident was partially the plaintiff’s fault.
Avoid Unnecessary Disclosures
One of the most important things for any plaintiff in a car accident lawsuit is to watch what they say to adverse parties. This is because people going against you in a lawsuit are looking for anything they can use to make their case stronger, and that includes things you say. Even a statement as seemingly simple as “my bad” or “I hit the other car” can be used against you to try and exaggerate how much of a car accident was your fault.
An adverse party does not always mean the opposing lawyer. It can also include insurance companies that are trying to avoid having their policies kick in to pay out coverage.
Have a Lawyer Handle Conversations
In general, it is a better idea to have our Queens car accident lawyers interact with adverse parties instead of you. This is because they have professional skills for handling these kinds of situations and can work to make sure that the percentage of fault that is attributed to you is explained clearly and not obfuscated by crafty arguments on the part of the defense. However, there are some instances where you will have to speak with an adverse party yourself. The most likely place where this would happen is a deposition, which is a formal, under-oath interview where lawyers get to ask those involved in the case questions. Although you will be answering the questions in a deposition, our lawyers will be present to make sure everything is done fairly.
Do Not Lie or Downplay
It is very important that you do not appear to downplay your contribution to an accident in a deposition. Trying to hide the truth is one of the fastest ways to lose a case. Instead, you should answer questions truthfully but not overexaggerate any involvement you may have had in the accident taking place. Our lawyers can work with whatever the truth may be to form the strongest argument possible for your case.
Talk with Our New York City Car Accident Lawyers Today
The Carrion Law Firm’s Staten Island car accident lawyers are ready to help you with your case when you call (718) 841-0083.