New York Negligence Law

Courts determine fault in New York personal injury cases based on New York negligence law.

What Is Negligence?

Our blog entitled “What Does Negligence Mean in a Personal Injury Case?” provides a definition of negligence. Negligence refers to a person’s action or inaction that results in injury, and in particular, acting or failing to act when a reasonable person would have done so.

To the extent that individuals are negligent and their negligence causes injury, the court holds the negligent parties accountable for damages.

How Does the Court Determine the Degree of Negligence?

Not all cases are clear-cut. Often, more than one party may be responsible for causing injury. In fact, sometimes even the injury victims have done something or failed to do something that contributed to or caused their injuries.

New York Civil Practice Law and Rules 1411 states that the claimant or a decedent in a wrongful death case is not barred from recovering compensation for damages if their actions contributed to the negligence or risk that resulted in injury. However, the courts will reduce the damages recovered for personal injury, injury to property or wrongful death based on the proportion of “culpable conduct attributable to the claimant or decedent.”

Examples of Percentage of Fault in a Personal Injury Case

A car accident serves as a good example. Two cars are involved in a crash, and the driver hit by a car that ran a red light was seriously injured. He is suing the other driver for damages. However, the injured driver was also speeding, and consequently, both drivers violated the law. The judge considers the fact that the driver who was speeding was five miles over the speed limit. Furthermore, the traffic camera showed that driver who crashed into the other car had clearly run the red light. As a result, the judge decides that that 90 percent of the fault for the accident lies with the driver who ran the red light. The judge assigns 10 percent of the fault to the injured victim because his speeding led to a greater impact than if the car was within the speed limit.

If the damages for property and injury were $100,000, the plaintiff could recover $90,000 or 90 percent of the damages.

If you are seriously injured in a car crash, you should protect your rights. There is no cost for an initial consultation to evaluate your case and discuss the prospects of pursuing a case.