My Legal Aspirations

For as long as I can remember, the legal field has always fascinated me. While my friends watched sitcoms and cartoons, I chose to watch courtroom dramas and real life trials unfold. There was never really any question as to what I wanted to be when I got older. The only profession for me was that of a trial lawyer. Unfortunately, a serious car accident several years ago changed all that. Now, my injuries prevent me from leaving my home most days. However, my love for the law has never went away. While I may not be able to realize my dreams of becoming a trail lawyer, I still wish to help people with their legal problems. That is why I decided to start this blog. It is my hope that the information contained in these pages will help other accident victims like me when filing their personal injury claims.

Comparative Versus Contributory Fault Laws


When a person is injured in an automobile accident, the first thing the courts are mandated to do is to determine who is at fault and to what degree. Individual states vary in how fault is determined, so it is important to understand the laws so that you know both your rights and your responsibilities if injured in an accident. 

Although individual states may vary in how fault is determined, they generally follow one of four different methods for assigning blame in an automobile accident:

  1. The Pure Contributory Negligence Rule - This rule means that if a plaintiff contributes to any injury they sustained, they may not be able to collect damages. For example, if someone runs a red light and hits you, but you were speeding at the time, even if you are injured, you may not be able to collect any financial award because you also contributed to your injuries. This law is considered unjustly harsh in many states; even if it is determined that you contributed to your own injuries as little as one percent, you still may be unable to receive damages.
  2. The Pure Comparative Fault Rule - This rule is much less stringent than the contributory negligence rule. In this instance, the court determines how much fault the plaintiff shares, and subsequently reduces any damages by that percentage. So, if you are awarded $100,000 in damages for injures or property loss for a personal injury suit, but are found to be 10 percent responsible, the award would be reduced by $10,000. 
  3. The Modified Comparative Fault Rule - This rule is followed by the majority of states, and is generally thought to be the most equitable. In this situation, each party in the accident is assigned a percentage of fault. If a plaintiff is more than 50 or 51 percent at fault, they are unable to receive damages. Conversely, if they are less than 50 or 51 percent at fault, then they will receive a percentage of the total award. 
  4. The Slight/Gross Negligence Method of Comparative Fault - This rule is less commonly used, but only allows damage awards if the plaintiff's fault level is considered slight, and the defendants negligence is considered gross. A major drawback of this method is that it is difficult to quantify slight as compared to gross in many instances. 

These rules have many exceptions and are only implemented if, in fact, a lawsuit actually goes to court. They generally do not apply to out-of-court settlements. Consulting an attorney who is familiar with personal injury law is the most advisable course of action, since they can tell you whether or not you have a viable case after they have examined all the facts. 

For an auto accident lawyer, click on this link or do an online search. 


16 March 2016