While the typical personal injury case pits a victim against a negligent defendant, some plaintiffs share responsibility. The state of Washington recognizes a victim’s contributory fault, which may severely limit their compensation. Read on to find out how comparative fault affects a victim’s chances of recovery.
How Comparative Fault Affects Personal Injury Cases
Under the doctrine of comparative fault, judges and juries assess each party’s percentage of responsibility. For instance, if an accident occurs due to one motorist’s safety violation, but the other driver was distracted, both drivers are negligent. The jury or judge must determine how much blame each driver carries, and the victim’s settlement is reduced accordingly. Consult a personal injury lawyer in Bremerton to find out how the state’s laws affect a particular case.
Can Comparative Fault Bar Recovery?
In some jurisdictions that follow the comparative negligence doctrine, plaintiffs must prove that a defendant is 50-51% at fault or they cannot recover. However, that’s not the case in Washington. It follows the pure comparative fault rule, which means a plaintiff can recover no matter the defendant’s share of liability.
A Plaintiff’s Failure to Mitigate
A concept included within the comparative fault doctrine is the plaintiff’s failure to mitigate. A plaintiff must take steps to minimize the severity of their injuries. For instance, if a victim has injuries resulting from an auto accident, they must do everything possible to allow themselves to heal. If a plaintiff fails in this regard, they typically can’t attribute their injuries to the defendant’s negligence.
A Preponderance of the Evidence
When asserting a personal injury claim, the victim has the burden of proof. To receive damages, a plaintiff must prove it’s more likely than not that a defendant’s negligence caused their injuries. By comparison, a defendant bears the burden as far as comparative negligence is concerned.
Ask an Injury Attorney About the State’s Comparative Fault Law
Even if a plaintiff proves someone else caused their injuries, they may lose most of their damages if the defendant can prove the victim shares the blame. Click here to consult a Personal Injury Lawyer in Bremerton or call today to schedule an appointment.
Be the first to like.