The People’s Lawyer

Addressing comparative fault in your personal injury case

On Behalf of | Nov 2, 2023 | Personal Injury Claims

As you embark on a personal injury lawsuit, you’re going to spend a lot of time gathering evidence that demonstrates why the defendant is to blame for the accident and the extent of the harm they caused to you.

This evidence is key to a successful personal injury lawsuit, but there are other aspects of your claim that you’ll have to pay attention to, otherwise you could be taken by surprise at trial and face either a reduced recovery or denied compensation altogether.

One of these areas that needs to be thoroughly vetted is comparative fault. Under state law, the compensation that you recover from your personal injury lawsuit can be reduced in accordance with the amount of fault that’s assigned to you. Therefore, even if you show that you suffered $100,000 in damages and the other driver caused the accident, your award might be reduced to $70,000 if you’re found to be 30% at fault for the wreck.

How do you reduce the risk of a comparative fault finding?

This is a key question that you have to answer in light of the facts of your case and before heading into settlement negotiations or litigation. Here are some tips that we hope you’ll find helpful as you build your personal injury case:

  • Watch what you say: It’s natural to be apologetic when something goes wrong, even if you’re not responsible for what happened. But in the car accident context, saying “I’m sorry” can cause all sorts of problems for your case. Anything you say that can be construed as assuming fault will be used against you in your case, as the defense will use your own words against you to show that you took responsibility for the accident. So, be careful with what you say, and when you do speak, stick to the facts.
  • Analyze the evidence: By thoroughly analyzing the evidence, you can find weaknesses in your case. This is why it’s sometimes a good idea to have an accident reconstruction conducted. Here, you can have an expert scrutinize the facts to determine exactly how the accident was caused and who is to blame. This might also highlight any contributions you made to the wreck, which you can then work to minimize.
  • Stay off social media: Your social media posts might give you an outlet as you cope with your injuries, but they can also be harmful to your claim. Again, if they have access to your social media, the defense will scour it to find statements and posts that they can use to show that you took responsibility for the accident or that your injuries aren’t as bad as you claimed them to be.

There might be other ways to address comparative fault in your case. You simply have to look at your claim from the defense’s perspective, then work to mitigate any unfavorable evidence. You can learn more about how to do that by discussing the facts of your case with your attorney.

Don’t let your own actions devastate your personal injury case

The outcome of your personal injury case will steer the course of your future for a long time to come. With so much hanging in the balance, you owe it to yourself to build the best claim possible. If the thought of navigating the legal arena makes you nervous, don’t worry. Help is available to get you through this trying time, hopefully in a way that puts you on the path to a successful future.