If you’ve been injured in a vehicle accident, your eligibility for damages will be determined by either the contributory negligence or comparative negligence rules, depending on your state. Here, we’ll take a look at each:
- Contributory negligence: The idea behind contributory negligence is that you have a responsibility to avoid causing harm to yourself. If you fail to uphold this duty, you limit your right to compensation for your injuries. This means that if you’re in a state adhering to contributory negligence rules, you might not be able to receive compensation if your own negligence contributed to your injuries.
- Comparative negligence: The majority of states use the comparative negligence approach, whereby your percentage of responsibility for the accident impacts your ability to recover damages. There are two types of comparative negligence, pure and modified. Under pure comparative negligence, your damages are totaled, and the money you receive is reduced to reflect your responsibility for the accident. Modified comparative negligence, on the other hand, prevents you from receiving any compensation whatsoever if you’re deemed to be more than 50% responsible for the accident.
Alaska Uses the Pure Comparative Fault Rule
In Alaska, your damages award may be reduced if you’re partly to blame for your injuries. Suppose, for example, that you’re driving slightly above the speed limit. As you cross an intersection, you’re struck by another vehicle running a red light. During the subsequent insurance investigation or court case, you’re assigned 15 percent of the blame for your injuries sustained during the accident, and the other driver is assigned the remaining 85 percent. Your damages total $10,000. Under Alaska’s comparative fault rule, you’ll be awarded $8,500, or $10,000 minus your 15 percent share of the fault.
You Need an Attorney
If you’ve been injured in an accident, you need legal representation. Even if you’re deemed to be partially at fault, you may still be entitled to compensation for injuries caused by another driver. For more information on protecting your rights, contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden, P.C., by using the form on this page.