When you are injured due to the actions of another and bring forth a claim to recover damages, it is important that you understand how the rules and regulations surrounding your claim may affect it. For example, understanding the legal theory of negligence and how to prove it, as well as what the statute of limitations is for filing your claim, are two important considerations. Another facet of personal injury law that you should understand is comparative negligence, including what it is and how it may affect your recovery.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
Each state in the nation is responsible for determining its own negligence laws, and who will be responsible for paying for damages in a negligence-based tort action. States either maintain a pure contributory negligence rule, a pure comparative fault system, or a modified comparative fault system.
Pure contributory negligence is the least common system type, and is followed by only a handful of states in the nation. In pure contributory negligence states, plaintiffs are barred from seeking damages for their injuries if they contribute to those injuries at all, even a mere one percent.
In a pure comparative fault system, on the other hand, the exact opposite is true; a plaintiff is allowed to recover damages from the defendant, even if they are 99 percent at fault for their injuries. However, the plaintiff’s damages will be reduced in proportion to their degree of fault. The only difference between a pure comparative fault system and a modified comparative fault system is that in the latter, recovery is barred if the plaintiff is 50/51 percent or more at fault (depending upon the state).
Washington is a Pure Comparative Negligence State
Called contributory fault in Washington, the state maintains a pure comparative negligence system of recovery. Again, this means that a plaintiff’s damages will be reduced in proportion to their degree of fault, but that a plaintiff can recover compensation even if they are up to 99 percent responsible for their own injuries.
Why Does This Matter?
Understanding Washington’s comparative fault laws is important when you are seeking your maximum compensation amount. Because of comparative fault laws, an insurance adjuster may try to take advantage of the fact that your award can be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault, thereby saving the insurance company money. As such, the adjuster may be searching for any admission of fault or error on your part, in order to place blame on your shoulders.
It is very important that you work with an experienced Seattle personal injury lawyer who knows how to thoroughly investigate a claim and build a strong case against the liable party.
Contact Our Seattle Personal Injury Lawyers Today
When you are injured, having an advocate on your side can be a great comfort, as well as a boon to your case. At the law office of Gosanko & O’Halloran, PLLC, our talented Seattle personal injury attorneys are here to help you. To schedule your free consultation with our offices today, please contact us now and provide us with your information using our online form.