Understanding Comparative Liability

Sometimes victims of a personal injury accident do not take action to recover damages because they are afraid that they will be blamed for their own injuries. This is true, for example, if someone is speeding and is hit by another car. While the accident may be the other driver’s fault, the victim may fear that his or her speeding with be used to deny compensation by the insurance company.

It is important to understand that having fault in an accident does not mean that you are not entitled to damages. Alaska is a state that observes a comparative negligence rule, which means that you may be entitled to damages even if the accident that caused your injuries was partially your fault.

What Is Comparative Negligence?

Alaska observes a pure comparative negligence rule. This means that even if you are partially at fault for the accident, you may still be able to sue for damages and collect compensation. In a pure comparative negligence state such as Alaska, this system is based on percentages. If you are 20 percent at fault for your own accident, for example, the jury can award you 80 percent of the total damages sought in the case. If you sued for $100,000 and the jury found that this award was appropriate, you would receive $80,000.

Other states that use comparative negligence include Arizona, California, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Washington. The rest of the states used different systems of liability that may exclude victims from recovering damages if they are at fault in an accident.

Generally, victims who are mostly or totally at fault for their own injuries cannot collect damages, but it is important to remember that only someone with experience in personal injury law should make that determination. Never assume that you are at fault or that you cannot collect damages without discussing your case with a personal injury attorney.

How Can I Learn More About Comparative Negligence?

If you have been injured in an accident but did not think you could recover damages due to your fault in the case, be sure to discuss your injuries with a personal injury attorney at Barber and Associates, LLC in Anchorage. We have helped many victims recover partial damages for their injuries, even when they were somewhat to blame for their own accidents. Contact us today to set up a free consultation to discuss your case.

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