The Contributory Negligence Defense In New York State

Jed Dietrich, Esq., Recognized as an American Institute of Trial Lawyers Litigator of the Year, and His Elite Team of Lawyers at the Dietrich Law Firm P.C., Acclaimed as an American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys 10 Best Personal Injury Law Firm, Battle to Obtain the Best Result for Victims of Heartbreaking Accidents in Buffalo, New York; Niagara Falls, New York; Rochester, New York and Throughout New York State.

Contributory negligence defenseIn states that follow the traditional doctrine of contributory negligence, personal injury victims are often extremely disappointed to discover that they cannot obtain compensation for their injuries because of the role their actions played in getting injured. In the five states that still follow this harsh principle, if defense attorneys and insurance companies can successfully show that the victim’s carelessness or negligence played a factor in the accident, he or she would be completely prohibited from recovering compensation. New York State recognizes that accidents often involve multiple causes and follows a pure comparative negligence approach. Rather than an accident being the sole fault of the defendant, the plaintiff can share some of the blame. Under New York Law, if you have been injured in an accident, even if you were contributorily negligent, you may still be entitled to recover compensation. While the contributory negligence defense does not bar recovery, it reduces a victim’s recoverable damages by the percentage that they have been is determined to be at fault.

If you, or a loved one, have been seriously injured due to another’s negligence, it is crucial to consult with a highly experienced personal injury attorney. Contributory negligence, a very common defense used in personal injury cases, can significantly impact your amount of recoverable compensation. Jed Dietrich, Esq. and his battle-tested team of personal injury lawyers have a proven track record of obtaining justice for accident victims. After suffering a serious injury, your top priority should be recovering. The Dietrich Law Firm P.C.’s veteran attorneys possess the expertise and knowledge necessary to thoroughly investigate your accident, successfully challenge your level of culpability, and ensure that you are in a position to obtain the highest possible compensation for your damages.

The Dietrich Law Firm’s team of seasoned lawyers will not allow someone else’s carelessness or negligence to ruin your life. You should not be forced to bear the weight of paying expensive medical bills, taking excessive time off from work, or other unanticipated future impacts. Being a victim of an accident is a devastating ordeal for many people. However, it does not have to be for you when you have the best of the best personal injury accident attorneys on your side. Just because someone is an attorney does not mean that they are qualified to handle your case. It is essential to hire a practiced personal injury attorney with extensive experience opposing possible defenses and holding those responsible accountable. For over 20 years, Jed Dietrich, Esq. has exclusively handled serious personal injury cases. Jed Dietrich, Esq. has battled to obtain over $175 Million in verdicts and settlements for victims who were injured in Buffalo, New York, and beyond. Our honorable commitment to exceeding your expectations and delivering an exceptional outcome is what sets us apart from the competition. Call Jed Dietrich, Esq. and his elite team of attorneys today at (716) 839-3939 so that we can help you! We are available 24 hours per day and 7 days per week.

Common Triggers of the Contributory Negligence Defense

Motorcycle crashAfter suffering severe injuries due to another’s negligence, the mere thought that you did anything to contribute to the accident can be nerve-racking. If you decide to pursue a lawsuit, the defendant may assert that you were partially at fault. A victim’s behavior can contribute to his or her injury when it falls below the reasonable standard of care. Defense attorneys commonly claim contributory negligence to decrease their client’s liability by the percentage that the victim was at fault. Some common situations that the contributory negligence defense might arise in include:

  1. Motorcycle Crashes: If the biker neglected to wear a helmet or violated any traffic laws, such as speeding or improper lane changing.
  2. Pedestrian Accidents: When a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle because he or she was jaywalking, did not use a crosswalk, or crossed the street while distracted.
  3. Negligent Car Accidents: If the driver was driving distracted, speeding, ran a red light, did not wear a seatbelt, failed to use a turn signal, or other irresponsible behaviors.
  4. Product Liability Claims: When the plaintiff used a faulty product incorrectly, and it caused them to suffer an injury.
  5. Premises Liability Claims: If the victim was injured because he or she failed to watch out, disregarded warning signs, or did not use available safety features.
  6. Medical Malpractice Cases: When a patient fails to disclose his or her medical history or ignores their doctor’s advice regarding medication or further treatment.



Successfully Defeating the Contributory Negligence Defense

As previously mentioned, in New York State, the contributory negligence defense does not prohibit plaintiffs from recovering compensation even if they are somewhat responsible. The amount a plaintiff recovers would be reduced in proportion to the degree they were found to be at fault. For instance, a plaintiff who is found to be 75% to blame for causing a car crash could still recover damages from a defendant who was 25% at fault, although the compensation recovered would be decreased by 75%. If we presume that the total damages were calculated at $100,000, the plaintiff would still recover $25,000. The difference in a fault determination of only a small fraction could significantly increase or decrease the victim’s compensation.

The Dietrich Law Firm P.C.’s battle-tested team possesses the knowledge and expertise necessary to counter or significantly reduce the impact of the contributory negligence claims. The defense has the burden of demonstrating that the plaintiff was at least partially at fault. Nevertheless, even if the victim’s conduct was wrong, it does not mean that he or she automatically contributed to the accident. While case law affords guidelines, our job at trial is to convince the jury to apply the facts of the case in our client’s favor. Our veteran litigators appreciate all of the nuances of contributory negligence and can effectively persuade a jury that our client was not at fault or that their fault was insignificant. We always put forth a strong effort to convince juries that defendants are more at fault, victims suffered life-changing injuries, and compensation should not be reduced. Juries tend to be persuaded by emotional arguments; it is crucial to stress how much the accident impacted the victim’s life. If you are interested in learning more about how the contributory negligence defense could impact your case, you should contact the Dietrich Law Firm P.C. today. Our expert attorneys will be able to answer any inquiries you may have and recommend a proper course of action.

Victims of personal injury accidents are often forced to deal with outrageous hospital bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, and overall decreased quality of life. Pursuing a personal injury claim against the responsible party may be one of the most important things you ever do. Even if you believe that an accident was your fault, our highly experienced personal injury attorneys may be able to recover a percentage of your total damages. That is why it is imperative to consult with Jed Dietrich, Esq. if you have been involved in any type of accident. Our seasoned lawyers will devise extremely effective legal tactics to defeat any contributory negligence claims, enhance your chances of obtaining the maximum compensation for all injuries suffered, and guarantee that justice prevails. The Dietrich Law Firm P.C.’s battle-tested team offers complimentary lawsuit evaluations and consultations. We would be honored to speak with you about your case. Our elite team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at (716) 839-3939, or by filling out the online consultation form. There is never a fee unless we WIN for you!

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 Buffalo, 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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