Sometimes, when an accident happens, it’s easy to determine whose fault it was. For example, if someone runs a red light and hits you, it would be easy to show that the driver is responsible for the accident. But what happens if you contributed to the accident? This situation involves the concept of contributory fault.
If an injury victim contributed to their accident, it can change the outcome of a personal injury case. If you have questions about contributory fault in your case, you should speak to an experienced attorney in Lexington who can help guide you.
The Different Types of Fault
Each state in the U.S. has its own personal injury laws and legal standards. If fault is not at issue in a case, then the main issue will likely be the overall value of the case. If multiple people are alleged to have caused an accident, then the laws of your will determine who can recover compensation and how much.
Three main categories of fault can appear in personal injury cases: contributory fault, comparative fault, and modified comparative fault. These are the law’s way of dividing damages when multiple people are at fault for an accident.
What is Contributory Fault?
Contributory fault is an extremely harsh standard. If you are even 1% at fault for your accident, you cannot recover any damages for your injuries. A judge or jury determines whether an injury victim shares any responsibility for the cause of their injuries.
Most states have done away with this standard because it prevents injury victims from recovering compensation even when they are only minimally at fault for their accident.
However, contributory fault is still the standard in four states (Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia) and Washington D.C. If your accident occurred in Kentucky, then you will not face the contributory fault standard.
What is Comparative Fault?
Comparative fault is another way of dealing with a personal injury case that has multiple at-fault parties. It comes into two main forms: pure comparative fault and modified comparative fault.
Kentucky is one of 12 states that use a pure comparative fault standard.
Under the pure comparative fault standard, you can recover damages even if you are mostly to blame for an accident. In fact, you can recover damages even if you are up to 99% at fault. However, your damages will be reduced to account for your share of blame.
For example, if you suffer $100,000 in damages and are 40% at fault, your maximum recovery will be $60,000. Likewise, if you suffer $100,000 in damages but are 90% at fault, you can still receive up to $10,000 in a pure comparative fault state like Kentucky.
Most remaining states use what is known as a modified comparative fault standard. Some states employ a 50% bar. In these states, you can recover damages so long as you are not 50% or more at fault for your accident.
Other states use a 51% bar. Under this standard, you can recover damages so long as you are not 51% or more responsible for your injuries. In these states, if you are not 50% or 51% responsible for your accident, your damages will be reduced to account for your share of fault.
Contributory Fault in Kentucky
Up until 1984, Kentucky was a contributory fault state. This standard led to many at-fault drivers looking for minor mistakes made by the other driver to avoid liability. Kentucky is now a pure comparative fault state. The Kentucky Supreme Court rejected the future use of the contributory fault standard in the case of Hilen v. Hays.
If you are hurt in an accident in Kentucky, you may still be eligible for damages even if you are mostly at fault in the accident. Make sure you ask an experienced attorney about how fault can affect your personal injury case.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
A personal injury lawyer can help you in many ways. One of the most important things that a personal injury lawyer can do is help you understand how comparative fault law applies to you.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you estimate fault and help you understand what your case might be worth overall. An experienced personal injury attorney can also help you negotiate an appropriate settlement. Your attorney will challenge a defendant’s or insurance company’s attempt to blame you for your injuries and avoid paying what they owe.
If you have questions about how an experienced personal injury lawyer can help your case, give us a call so we can help!
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If you have been hurt in an accident, you may have questions about how fault applies to your case. Call (859) 550-2900 us or contact us online for a free consultation with an experienced Kentucky personal injury lawyer.