When someone is injured in a car accident and he or she chooses to take legal action, a lot of his or her time and effort is spent on showing that someone else was at fault for the accident in question. This is important, of course. After all, you can’t recover compensation without establishing liability.
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident, this means that you’ll want to gather evidence of distraction, intoxication, speeding, following too closely, failing to yield, or anything else that could be indicative of negligence. However, you also shouldn’t overlook the importance of playing defense when litigating your claim.
New Jersey’s contributory negligence law
When you pursue a personal injury lawsuit, the other side is probably going to argue that you’re at least partially at fault for the accident. If the other side is successful in doing so, then your recovery could be diminished. In New Jersey, the law recognizes contributory negligence, which means that your recovery will be reduced by the percent of fault allocated to you. If you’re found to be more at fault than the other party, then you will be barred recovery from that party altogether.
New York’s comparative negligence law
New York’s law in this regard is slightly different. There, the proportion of fault that is attributed to the plaintiff will reduce a personal injury recovery, but there is no bar to recovery.
What this means for you
These laws can have a serious impact on your personal injury claim and your ability to recover the compensation that you need and deserve. Therefore, you should be prepared to defend your driving in the moments leading up to the accident. Anticipate the defense claiming that you were distracted or committing some sort of traffic violation at that time, and know how to counter those arguments. If you’d like assistance in that regard so that you can maximize your potential recovery, then consider reaching out to a skilled personal injury advocate like those at our firm.