Serving injury victims in the Tri-cities, Columbia Basin, Eastern Washington and Oregon.

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What does contributory negligence mean?

| Jul 19, 2021 | Car Accidents

A person who suffers bodily harm in a car wreck may need considerable medical care. They may also have to take off work as they heal from the injuries — all of which can have a negative impact on their finances. 

While you might assume that you can seek compensation and potentially receive full compensation for the damages you’ve faced, this isn’t always the case. Laws in Washington are based on contributory negligence guidelines

How do contributory negligence guidelines impact a personal injury award?

State laws allow for an award in a personal injury case to be reduced by the percentage of fault that’s assigned to the plaintiff. This means that if a person is found to be 25% at fault for the incident that led to their injuries, the award the jury provides will be reduced by 25%. 

For example, a person who receives a $200,000 award from a jury would receive $150,000 if the court finds that they were 25% at fault. There isn’t a limit to the amount of reduction that’s possible. This means that a person who’s found to be 99% at fault could still collect 1% of the damages from the defendant in the case. 

What can you do after a car wreck leaves you injured?

Anyone who suffers an injury caused at least in part by another person might opt to pursue a claim for compensation. It’s imperative that you understand how state laws will impact your claim, so working with a person who’s familiar with this area of the law is beneficial. Just be sure that you do this quickly as there are time limits for these cases.