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Can I sue for car accident injuries even if I'm partially liable?

Many car accidents are not the result of only one party making an error. This can be particularly troubling when injuries result from the accident - after all, if you are partially liable in the accident, doesn't that disqualify you from pursuing damages in a personal injury claim?

Fortunately for drivers in New York, partial liability in an accident does not completely disqualify one from pursuing or receiving damages.

While this may seem like good news, and it is, there are still some thresholds to meet before a victim can file a suit against another driver in New York.

Under state law, New York drivers must first file any injuries or material damages with their own insurance provider. Only if the losses from the accident are severe enough can a victim file a successful personal injury claim against the other driver.

Even then, a judge may reduce the damages a victim may receive according to his or her comparative negligence.

How does comparative negligence work?

Under New York's comparative negligence laws, you can pursue compensation for losses after an accident, even if you are partially liable. However, any damages that you might pursue may shrink according to the amount of liability you share.

First, in order to bring a suit against the other party rather than solely reporting your injuries to your personal insurance provider, you must suffer from one of several severe conditions.

These include:

  • Significant disfigurement
  • Broken bones
  • Significantly full disability for at least 90 days
  • Permanent loss of use or impairment of an organ's function
  • Permanent loss of use or impairment of a limb
  • Significant loss of use of bodily function

Once you have satisfied the standards for bringing a personal injury suit, you may do so. Also, it is worth noting that once you've surpassed the threshold for bringing an injury lawsuit, you may also be able to pursue non-economic damages as well as economic damages. Non-economic damages refer to losses that cannot have their monetary value easily quantified, such as loss of quality of life.

Comparative negligence plays a roll in how a judge may award you damages after an accident where you were partially to blame.

Let's say you broke a leg in a car accident and were unable to work for several months. While accruing thousands of dollars in medical bills, a judge may consider compensating you for many forms of loss. However, if you were 30 percent responsible for the accident, then you would only receive 70 percent of the potential compensation. If your total compensation award was, for instance, $100,000, your actual award would then be only $70,000.

A strong team leads to strong results

Pursuing fair compensation after a car accident can be a lengthy and difficult process. It is crucial to enlist the help of an experienced attorney who understands the intricacies of the New York legal system and can help you build a strong case to pursue fair compensation.

With guidance from an attorney with years of experience, you can rest assured that your case is professionally handled while your rights remain protected.

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