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Comparative Negligence

Comparative Negligence

Comparative Negligence under New York Law

All states have some form of negligence law. Negligence is another person’s failure to act reasonably to protect you from harm. Whether someone is reckless, inattentive, simply careless or intentionally harms you, when the courts believe he or she was irresponsible, you can recover monetary damages. The purpose of negligence law is to make you whole again ― restore you to the condition you were in before the accident. While this is not always possible, compensation can help you pay for medical bills, lost wages, quality treatment and offset other expenses related to your injury.

At Rubenstein & Rynecki, you can benefit from our experience. For more than three decades, we have helped injury victims receive the compensation they deserve.

What is comparative negligence law?

States differ considerably in the types of negligence laws they use. Some do not allow injured parties to recover any compensation if they contributed in any way to their own damages. Other states only allow recovery when the other party was 50 percent or 51 percent negligent. New York allows injured parties to recover damages as long as the other party had some percentage of fault. NYC courts also evaluate whether you contributed to your own personal injury. They assign all parties a percentage of negligence. You can recover compensation regardless of whether you contributed to your own injury. However, the court reduces your compensation based on your percentage of fault.

For example, suppose you were in a car accident. The other driver was drunk and ran a red light. Your negligence was failing to wear your seat belt. During the collision, your SUV (sports utility vehicle) rolled over and the roof crushed in.  Your attorney discovered the roof was defective due to a manufacturing design flaw. The New York court assigns the drunk driver 70 percent of the negligence, the manufacturer 25 percent for the design flaw and you five percent for failing to wear your seat belt. Your damages were $200,000. The drunk driver’s insurance company must pay 80 percent or $160,000. The manufacturer must pay $30,000. You can only recover $190,000 because your negligence was five percent, which equaled $10,000 in damages.

In most personal injury cases, you can sue for damages. However, unless your injuries are serious, auto accidents are considered a no-fault accident. You cannot sue and your only recourse to recovering damages is by filing a no-fault claim with your insurance company.

Put our experience to work for you

At Rubenstein & Rynecki, we work so personal injury victims and their families can maximize their recoveries. It costs you nothing to discuss your accident with us and we may be able to help.  No recovery, no fee.  Contact us today for a free consultation.

Case Results

  • $62 million verdict

    $62 million verdict for medical malpractice causing double amputation

  • $22.9 million verdict

    $22.9 million verdict (reduced on appeal) for a motorcyclist struck by a milk truck in Queens

  • $17.9 million

    $17.9 million for medical malpractice causing amputation of hands and feet