In our last post, we began looking at the topic of comparative negligence. As we noted, different states handle this issue differently, with most states barring recovery for plaintiffs who are found to be either 50 percent or 51 percent at fault for their own injuries.
Here in Kentucky, there is no bar for a plaintiff seeking to recover damages. If a motor vehicle accident victim is determined by a jury to be 75, 80 or 99 percent at fault for his or her injuries, he or she is still able to recover. This absence of bar to recovery gives accident victims the opportunity to receive some damages from those who are at least partially responsible for their injuries.
In cases involving allegations of contributory negligence on the part of the plaintiff, it is up to the jury—in a jury trial anyway—to determine the amount of damages each claimant is entitled to recover if his or her contributory negligence is disregarded, as well as the percentage of total fault of all the parties to each claim that should be allocated to each claimant, defendant, third-party defendant and any individuals released from liability. Specific numbers reflecting the fault of each party have to be assigned.
In determining the percentage of fault that should be assigned, juries are supposed to weigh the nature of the accident victim’s conduct, the conduct of each other at fault party, and the extent of the causal relation between the conduct and the accident victim’s damages. When there are multiple at-fault parties, this analysis can become somewhat complicated, and it is critical to have a zealous advocate at one’s side.
In our next post, we’ll look at this issue a bit more, and how an experienced Lexington car accident attorney can provide the kind of advocacy that maximizes a plaintiff’s damages in a motor vehicle accident case.