In the event of a car accident, there is often a dispute about who is at fault. In some cases, the defendant may even claim you were partially at fault for the collision. In these situations, state law utilizes a comparative negligence analysis to determine whether there is shared fault and in what amount.
This area of law can be exceedingly complicated without legal experience, but proper assistance from a knowledgeable attorney could help you navigate the process and continue to seek compensation for your injuries. For help understanding comparative negligence in Seattle car accident claims, speak to an accomplished car accident attorney today.
Defining Negligence in Vehicle Wreck Cases
To understand comparative negligence, it is essential to understand negligence in general. Negligence occurs when a person fails to follow their reasonable standard of care and, in doing so, causes injury to another person. Drivers who are negligent, either by driving distracted, intoxicated, or violating traffic laws, can do a great deal of damage. Proving how their negligence caused that damage may lead to a successful claim and significant financial compensation.
To prove negligence requires proving the following elements:
- A duty of care existed
- The defendant breached that duty of care
- The breach proximately caused the plaintiff’s injury
- The plaintiff suffered damages as a result of the breach
Proving these elements is essential to a successful car crash claim and in dealing with comparative negligence in Seattle.
What is Comparative Negligence?
Chapter 4.22 of the Washington Statutes sets forth state law on the issue of comparative negligence. The state utilizes what is considered a “pure” comparative fault analysis. The plaintiff’s fault is calculated and determined, then the percentage of fault is reduced from the damage award. What makes this a “pure” analysis is that it does not matter how much fault the plaintiff has for the accident, so long as it is not 100 percent. Even a plaintiff 99 percent at-fault for the vehicle wreck can still recover their one percent.
More commonly, the plaintiff may be responsible for a certain portion, such as 15 percent. If the plaintiff was awarded $100,000 as a total award, their award would be reduced by 15 percent—or $15,000. While this is a reduction, it permits a plaintiff to still recover even if they played a part in their auto accident.
In car accident situations, it is possible for both drivers to be partially at fault for the collision. Often, the plaintiff is less at fault for the accident and therefore sues the defendant for their damages. In these situations, the defendant’s negligence is typically more serious or egregious than that of the defendant.
One potential example occurs when both parties are speeding. Speeding is a form of negligence in many cases. However, if the defendant also changes lanes without checking their blind spot, that could be evidence the defendant is more negligent. To ensure a car crash claim is not compromised due to comparative negligence, it is important to work with a seasoned Seattle lawyer.
Learn About Comparative Negligence in Car Accidents with a Seattle Attorney
Comparative negligence in Seattle car accident claims can complicate the matter, but it does not necessarily mean that the claim is any less valuable to you. If you suffered injuries at the hands of a negligent defendant, you may still be entitled to a significant recovery.
To seek recovery from the defendant, contact our experienced team today.