Most people who are hurt in a car accident that is caused by the negligence of another focus on imposing liability on the individual who harmed them. This is, of course, a requirement if you hope to recover compensation for the damages that you suffered in a car accident, but there’s much more to your personal injury case than proving that the other driver is at fault. This is because Ohio recognizes what is known as contributory fault.
What is contributory fault?
Contributory fault essentially means that the finder of fact, whether that be a judge or a jury, will allocate a percentage of fault to each party. Any recovery is then reduced by the amount of fault that is allocated to that individual. For example, if you win your case and are awarded $100,000 for your damages but you’re also found to be 40% at fault, then your recovery will actually be reduced to $60,000.
Contributory fault, then, can have a profound impact on your ability to recover the compensation you need to offset medical expenses and lost wages, as well as that which is needed to ease your pain and suffering. It can also be complicated when there are more than two parties involved in accident. It’s also worth noting that if you’re found to be more than 50% at fault, then you will be barred from recovering any compensation.
What this means for you
The rule of contributory fault means that you need to be prepared to play both offense and defense when handling your case. You need to anticipate the defense’s arguments so that you can impose liability while also avoiding as much allocation of fault as is necessary. This anticipation and counter arguing is a well defined skill, which is why many car accident victims find it beneficial to turn to an attorney for assistance with these matters. If you think that you could benefit from having an experienced, aggressive advocate on your side, then you might want to research which firms are right for you and your case.