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What Is Comparative Negligence In New York?

In New York, comparative negligence pertains to accident law, which is also known as personal injury law. If you are in an accident and/or injured, the courts will grapple with the following questions: who was at fault? What if both parties were negligent in a way that caused the accident? Here’s what you need to know about comparative negligence.

What Is Negligence?

Negligence occurs when someone acts carelessly and is a substantial factor in causing someone else harm. When courts find someone to be negligent, they can determine that person failed to exercise ordinary care toward someone else when they owed that person a duty of care.

How Does Comparative Negligence Work in New York?

Section 1411 of the New York Civil Practice Laws and Rules, which is the law that governs negligence in New York, states:

“In any action to recover damages for personal injury, injury to property, or wrongful death, the culpable conduct attributable to the claimant or the decedent, including contributory negligence or assumption of risk, shall not bar recovery, but 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 simpler terms, this law states that in an accident or personal injury case, it must be determined who was at fault for how much of the accident, and how much they can recover in damages for their role in the accident. If you were partially responsible for the accident, it’s referred to as comparative negligence even though CPLR 1411 refers to it as “contributory” negligence. The Jury generally needs to determine what percentage at fault you were, if at all. For example, if you have a stop sign and the other person involved in the collision also has a stop sign and you get into a collision with that other car, the Jury will have to decide how much fault each driver bears compared to the other. In the instructions that the Jury will receive, this is called “comparative fault”.

What You Need to Know About Comparative Negligence in New York

Even if you are partially at fault, you aren’t barred from recovering damages in a personal injury case. However, the amount you recover will be lowered in proportion to the amount you were at fault for the accident.

The defendant in your personal injury lawsuit will have to be able to prove that you were partially responsible. If that’s proven, it’s up to the jury to decide how much at fault you were. For instance, if you were found to be 30% at fault for the accident that caused your injuries, the Court will reduce the amount of monetary compensation you receive for your damages by 30%.

While the New York comparative negligence laws do make it easier for you to recover your damages, it also makes your personal injury case a lot more complicated. In New York, some pedestrian accidents involve a pedestrian who is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, but this doesn’t mean that the driver who hit them can’t be held responsible for the accident, and such is the case for a personal injury or accident case in New York. 

An experienced New York personal injury attorney will be able to assist you and protect your rights to recovery, even if you were partially at fault for the accident. If you’ve been injured, you should speak with an experienced New York personal injury attorney about your legal recourse and options. 

Whether or not you were partially at fault, you shouldn’t have to suffer or pay out of pocket for injuries that were also caused by someone else’s negligence—you have the right to take legal action. Our team has more than 75 years of combined experience handling all manner of personal injury and accident cases throughout New York City, and we are standing by, ready to help you or a loved one today. 

Every case is different, but the law firm of Greenberg & Stein is devoted to client satisfaction and personalized service, no matter how big or small the case. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us to discuss whether your case might qualify for additional compensation. Call us today at 888-411-3966 to schedule your free legal consultation.