Recovering compensation when you were partly at fault

| Feb 23, 2021 | Car Accidents

The legal theory of negligence holds that we all have a duty to others to take reasonable care to avoid the risk of an accident. If we breach this duty, and cause harm to someone else, we can be held liable for the damages they suffered as a result.

When driving a car, this means we have a duty to avoid risky behaviors, like driving while drunk, or looking at a smartphone instead of at the road ahead. If we breach our duty of care, cause an accident, and hurt someone else, we can be held liable for their damages.

Likewise, if you are injured by a careless driver, you can hold them liable for your damages.

But what if you breached your duty? Can you recover compensation for damages after you were injured in an accident if you were partly responsible for the accident?

Contributory negligence and comparative fault

In the past, the answer to this question was no. Traditionally, an injured person could not recover compensation if they were even slightly at fault for the accident in which they were injured.

This system led to a lot of unfair results. Over the years, state lawmakers tried to fix the problem with a variety of reforms. Now, the law is different from state to state.

Kentucky and Ohio

Kentucky now follows a system known as pure comparative fault. A person who is partly at fault for the accident can still recover compensation from the other party or parties, but their recovery is reduced in proportion to their percentage of fault. If they were 60% at fault, their recovery amount is reduced by 60%.

Ohio follows a slightly more strict rule known as contributory negligence. In Ohio, a person who is partly at fault for the accident can recover compensation so long as their share of the fault of the other parties in the accident. In a two-car accident, this means that so long as a person’s share of the fault was not more than 50%, they can recover compensation. However, their recovery is reduced in proportion to their share of fault. If they were 25% at fault, their recovery is reduced by 25%.

As you can see, this means that people injured in Cincinnati-are car accidents have different legal options depending on where their accident occurred in relation to the border. Injured people should speak to an experienced lawyer about their options.