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New York Personal Injury Attorneys

What is Comparative Negligence in New York Car Accidents?

November 12, 2020 in

Oftentimes, when a car accident occurs, it is because of the negligence of one party—who clearly and without a doubt failed to follow the rules of the road. Whether that be stopping at a red light or adhering to the speed limit, their negligence leads to a collision occurring. However, what if both parties were partially or equally at fault in an auto accident? Here, the New York City car accident attorneys at Sullivan Papain Block McManus Coffinas & Cannavo P.C. provide an overview of comparative negligence and the pure comparative fault rule that applies in New York if both parties contributed to an auto accident.


Many Automotive Accidents Have One Party Clearly at Fault


If the driver of a vehicle disregards a stop sign and collides with another vehicle who had the right-of-way, it is clearly the driver who ran the stop sign who is at fault. If a driver looking at his cell phone fails to see the slowing of traffic in front of him, and collides with the vehicle ahead of him from the rear, his negligence is found at fault as the cause of the accident. In both of these cases, the driver at fault must compensate you for medical bills, damages and other losses through their car insurance provider.

Many car accidents that occur in the United States have one individual who is clearly at fault. However, in some cases, both parties contributed to the accident occurring, with both parties neglecting to follow the rules of the road. For example, if one driver fails to fully stop at a stop sign before turning onto a road, and collides with another driver who was exceeding the speed limit and using her cell phone, both parties may hold a shared fault in causing the incident. In this case, comparative negligence may apply if there is a shared fault. While each state handles comparative negligence differently, New York applies the comparative fault rule if you as the driver are found to be more responsible for causing the accident in comparison to the other party. 


New York Uses the Pure Comparative Fault Rule


The pure comparative fault rule applies if both parties contribute to a collision occurring. Under the pure comparative fault rule, the plaintiff’s awards will be reduced based on the extent of their contribution to the accident.

In states that use pure comparative negligence in car accident claims, such as New York, accident victims can still receive compensation for injuries sustained in the accident no matter their degree of negligence, even if their contribution to the accident was higher than the defendant’s contribution. 

For example, a driver who may be entitled to $20,000 worth of compensatory damages to cover your medical bills after you have been involved in an accident. If a jury comes to the conclusion that you are 20% responsible for causing the accident, if you were speeding when the collision occurred, for example, you would essentially be granted 80% of the total compensation entitled to you, or $16,000. Whether or not you are found more or less at fault for the car accident compared to the defendant in the case, you are entitled to a portion of the damages awarded to you based on the unique circumstances.


Consult a New York Car Accident Attorney at Sullivan Papain Block McManus Coffinas & Cannavo P.C.


If you are involved in a car accident, it can be a frightening and difficult experience to navigate. If you are involved in an automotive accident in New York, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your pain and suffering. Call the experienced New York City car accident attorneys at Sullivan Papain Block McManus Coffinas & Cannavo, P.C. at (212) 732-9000 to discuss your best course of action. You can also contact our team here:

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