Niagara Falls, New York, Personal Injury Lawyers Explain Contributory Negligence

Niagara Falls Personal Injury: What Is Contributory Negligence?

The Dietrich Law Firm P.C.’s Battle-Tested Attorneys have a Lengthy History of Obtaining the Highest Possible Monetary Compensation for Our Clients. Please, Call Jed Dietrich, Esq. so that He can Demand the Best Result for Your Niagara Falls, New York, Personal Injury Accident.

Personal Injury AttorneysDetermining liability is a crucial component of every personal injury lawsuit. Most people falsely assume that one person is always solely responsible for causing an accident and the resulting injuries. However, a defendant may not be entirely at-fault for an accident or the victim’s damages. In these types of cases, liability is often extremely confusing and uncertain. New York law acknowledges that accidents regularly involve more than one cause and follows a pure comparative negligence approach. Consequently, instead of the whole accident being 100 percent the defendant’s fault, the plaintiff could also share a percentage of the blame. Although New York’s contributory negligence statute makes recovering compensation easier, it can also complicate claims.

Suppose that you were seriously injured due to someone else’s negligence. You decide to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against that person, but they claim that you were partially responsible for the accident. While it may be difficult to comprehend that you did anything to contribute to your injuries, sometimes juries determine that a victim should share some of the blame. Regardless of whether you have been hurt in a collision, construction accident, motorcycle crash, or any other type of incident, contributory negligence can meaningfully influence the amount of compensation you obtain. Fortunately, the Dietrich Law Firm P.C.’s seasoned attorneys know the ins and outs of contributory negligence and may be able to successfully persuade a jury that the degree of fault attributable to you was insignificant.

Awarded a Better Business Bureau A+ Rating, the Dietrich Law Firm P.C. will aggressively litigate to obtain the best possible outcome for your accident and resulting damages. Insurance companies have paid Jed Dietrich, Esq. over $175,000,000.00 in judgments and settlements to resolve his client’s claims. The Dietrich Legal Team’s winning history comes from a combination of our painstaking level of preparation and our vast experience. Former clients have frequently declared that Jed Dietrich, Esq. is the finest personal injury lawyer in New York. The Dietrich Law Firm P.C.’s highly experienced team offers free, no-obligation case evaluations and consultations. We strongly suggest dialing (716) 839-3939 or completing our online consultation form to learn more about how our top rated lawyers can help you. 

Allocation of Responsibility for Personal Injury Accidents

Personal Injury AttorneysUnder New York Consolidated Laws, Civil Practice Law and Rules, Section 1411, it says that contributory negligence “shall not bar recovery.” However, the section also states that “the amount of damages otherwise recoverable shall be diminished in the proportion which the culpable conduct attributable to the claimant or decedent bears to the culpable conduct which caused the damages.” In other words, Under New York CPLR § 1411, when the jury finds that a defendant’s negligence contributed to an accident, the plaintiff can recover compensation. Even if that plaintiff were 99 percent responsible for his or her injuries, he or she would still be eligible to obtain compensation. The defendant has the burden of proving that the plaintiff should share the blame. When he or she can show that the plaintiff’s actions contributed to the accident, the defendant will not have to pay the full jury award. Alternatively stated, the percentage of the plaintiff’s blameworthiness for the accident would be deducted from their total recovery.

For example, while driving through downtown Niagara Falls on Pine Avenue, George was brutally rear-ended. He was stopped at a red light and took a minute to check his email. Since George was busy on his phone, he did not notice the light turn green. As Sara approached from the rear, she failed to slow down despite noticing that George’s van was not moving. Both George and Sara share some of the blame for this car crash. Thus, George’s ability to recover damages will be directly affected by the percentage of fault he is assigned. If he is allocated 40 percent liability, his compensation will be reduced by 40 percent. Accordingly, if his damages totaled $500,000, 40 percent or $200,000 would be subtracted from the total, and George would be able to recover $300,000. As you can see, if George’s share of fault changes by only a small fraction, it could increase or decrease his total compensation.



Steps to Take to Counter Contributory Negligence Claims

Since New York law adheres to a pure comparative fault, even when victims share most of the blame for an accident, they do not need to worry about being precluded from damages. However, the more fault a victim shares, the less compensation he or she will be able to recover. The Dietrich Law Firm P.C.’s battle-tested attorneys will do everything possible to protect our client’s ability to maximize their compensation. To minimize or avoid any fault assigned to you, we recommend documenting your role in the accident. Ways that you can support your version of events include:

  1. Call the Niagara Falls Police Department: You should call 911 and report the accident. Tell the responding officer your side of the story and request the police to complete an accident report, which can be used to establish key details about the incident.
  2. Seek Immediate Medical Care: Even if you do not believe that you have suffered severe injuries, the flow of adrenaline is known for dulling pain, and certain types of injuries are not always immediately apparent. Furthermore, documenting your injuries with a doctor can help support your case.
  3. Take Photos: Use your smartphone to take pictures and videos of the scene of the accident, your injuries, and any damaged property. Photos can often tell a story in a way words cannot.
  4. Obtain Contact Information: Request the names and contact details of everyone involved in the accident and any bystanders who are willing to corroborate your story.
  5. Contact an Elite Attorney: Strongly consider contacting a highly qualified personal injury attorney.

Always be honest and stay consistent with your story. It is important not to lie, regardless of whether you are partially at fault. Even minor changes to your story can completely ruin your credibility. Just because your conduct was wrongful does not automatically imply that you contributed to the accident. Accident cases involving contributory negligence can be difficult to navigate through by yourself. Thus, it is imperative to retain a veteran legal professional who can protect your legal rights and best interests. The Dietrich Law Firm P.C.’s seasoned lawyers will devote countless hours to minimizing your share of fault while maximizing your compensation.

Since 1999, Jed Dietrich, Esq. has exclusively litigated serious personal injury cases, including many involving contributory negligence. The Dietrich Law Firm P.C.’s leading lawyers possess the expertise and resources to systematically investigate your accident and ensure that we prove the other party is mostly to blame for your injuries. Our battle-tested team is available 24/7 at (716) 839-3939 or by completing the online consultation form. You have nothing to lose by scheduling a free consultation with our zealous lawyers.

Call the Dietrich Law Firm P.C. immediately at (716) 839-3939 so that our aggressive, tenacious, and hardworking personal injury lawyers can fight to obtain the best result for your personal injury claim in Niagara Falls, New York. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and there is never a fee until we WIN for you!

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