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If I Was Partially at Fault in my Accident, am I Entitled to Compensation If Injured?

Understanding the differences between contributory and comparative negligence

When you are involved in an accident, it is often easy for you to find an area in which you were at least partially at fault for the incident or your injuries. It is normal for us to think of what we could have done differently to avoid such an accident or injury . But even if you are partially at fault for your accident, you may still be entitled to recover compensation for your injuries if the other party was also partially at fault and negligent.

The history of contributory negligence

The concept of contributory negligence dates back to the early 20 th century and English common law. The concept of contributory negligence was carried over into America under both civil and common law practices. Contributory negligence was easy to understand because it left the plaintiff with an all or nothing result for compensation. If a defendant was able to show the plaintiff had contributed to their injuries through the plaintiff’s own negligence, it would bar the plaintiff from recovering any compensation for their injuries regardless of the defendant’s portion of liability. Because these original principles of contributory negligence being too harsh and limiting plaintiff’s rights to recovery even when they were only minimally at fault, most states, including New Jersey, have now modified their laws to follow a comparative negligence principal instead.

New Jersey’s comparative negligence statute

The State of New Jersey now follows a comparative negligence legal process, in which a plaintiff’s degree of fault and negligence is compared to the defendant’s degree of fault and negligence to determine whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to recover compensation for their injuries. Under the principle of comparative negligence, if the plaintiff is determined to be less responsible for the accident than the defendant is, that is if the plaintiff is less than 50% negligent and at fault, then they may still be entitled to recover compensation from the at-fault, negligent party.

However, the plaintiff’s right to compensation will be reduced by the percentage at which they are found to have contributed to the accident. For example, if the jury determines the plaintiff’s own negligent actions were 40% at fault for the accident and they determine the plaintiff should be awarded $100,000 for their damages, then the plaintiff will only be entitled to recover $60,000. Some states will allow the injured party to recover compensation even if they are more than 50% at fault for the accident, but in New Jersey if the plaintiff is determined to be more than 50% at fault they will still be barred from recovering any amount of compensation from the other negligent party.

If you have been injured in an accident, even if you were partially at fault, contact our skilled New Jersey personal injury attorneys to determine your right to compensation

The acclaimed New Jersey personal injury lawyers at Brady, Brady & Reilly, LLC have a record of obtaining results for injured accident victims for more than 50 years. If you were involved in an accident which caused you serious personal injury, or have lost a loved one in an accident, and the accident was at least partially someone else’s fault, contact us to schedule your free consultation. Our firm proudly serves East Newark and surrounding areas. Our personal injury attorneys are available to meet with you in our office, at your home, and in the hospital. Call us today at (201) 997-0030 or complete our online contact form to request your consultation. We look forward to speaking with you.

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