If someone makes a mistake or drives negligently, and they cause a crash that injures someone else, it’s common sense that the injured party should be able to recover their medical expenses and other damages from the responsible party. But often, the case isn’t so black and white. What if you were partially responsible for the accident that caused your injury? Does that mean that you can’t sue or win compensation for your injuries?
What comparative fault means
Normally, when one person wins a lawsuit against another for negligence or personal injury, the court determines how much the injured party needs in order to be made whole after their accident. When the injured party shares at least a little bit of the blame, however, the court takes some additional steps.
First, the court determines what percentage of fault each party has. The injured party can still win compensation from the negligent driver as long as the injured party isn’t more responsible than the negligent driver.
Then, if the injured party wins the lawsuit, the court reduces their total recovery according to their responsibility for the accident.
What this means for your personal injury suit
As long as you were 50% or less responsible for the crash, you can still recover something in your lawsuit. If the court determines that your percentage of fault was 30%, and you win a total of $100,000, the court will reduce your recovery by 30% and order the other driver to pay you $70,000.
Minnesota’s comparative fault statute is a great system, because it doesn’t completely bar recovery just because the victim was slightly at fault like happens in some other states. Instead, you can still receive the recovery that you need to pay your medical bills, repair your car and so forth, even if you were partially to blame for your accident.