The Tricky Road Of Partial Fault
In a simple case of personal injury that goes to court, the goal of the attorney—and the whole case—is quite clear; to prove that one party was injured as a result of negligence from another party, and to collect compensation for that. Of course, the world and human beings aren’t binary. Sometimes it’s not just yes/no, or guilty/innocent, or at fault/not at fault. Sometimes events occur where the blame may rest on more than one shoulder and even the party that was injured may actually have some responsibility in the events that occurred. There are many cases that happen in our everyday lives where an unfortunate event occurs that does not have only one person to blame. For example, if teenagers at a shopping mall are ignoring the rules, and one teenager slides down the hand rail of an escalator going down, and happens to hit another teenager that was attempting to run up that same downwards escalator, injuries may occur, but it’s also clear that both participants were in violation of mall safety standards. When you escalate that kind of situation to something more serious like an accident, what happens then if it should go to court?
This is where it is the job of attorneys and the court to ascertain the percentage or amount of fault assigned to the involved parties. And even in a situation like this, it is still possible attain financial compensation. It’s just a more complex task, with less gain than a straightforward personal injury case where one party is clearly at fault.
Honesty Is Still The Best Policy
In the event that an incident occurs that involves personal injury, it is absolutely imperative that you be honest with your consulting attorney when you make your case. If some of the blame lies with you, do not attempt to hide this from your attorney as the consequences in court can be harsh should your deception come to light. Your attorney’s best weapons in court are the facts, and hiding these facts merely weakens your own chances at success. If you tell your attorney, honestly, that you may share some of the blame in a case where you were injured, the next step is to determine the degree to which you may be at fault.
While there is no fixed, mathematical formula with which attorneys can simply plug in numbers to arrive at a numerical conclusion, there is a basic rule of thumb to follow. If your attorney believes that you shoulder less than 50% of the blame, then you are still entitled to some personal injury compensation. It just won’t be as much as if you were completely without fault.
An investigation will need to be conducted with you, your attorney and relevant organizations, such as an insurance company if they are involved in the proceedings. This is done simply to try to be as accurate as possible in assigning amounts of blame to the individual parties to determine the cost of personal injury compensation that may be owed. As previously stated, there is no fixed, easy mathematical rule to follow, so in the case of an injury between distracted drivers where one may have been texting while driving, while the other was distracted with trying to quiet down misbehaving children, blame will be assigned based on the severity and necessity of the negligence, in addition to the amount of injury sustained.
These are all factors that need to be determined by experienced legal experts. If you feel that you were in an incident where you were injured and you may only be partially at fault, consult an attorney to discuss your compensation options.