• Leitner Varughese

Should I File a Motor Vehicle Accident Lawsuit in New York if I am Partially at Fault?


If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident in New York, you may already know that the first step in obtaining compensation typically involves filing an auto insurance claim through your own insurance company. In many cases, injury victims still need to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in order to obtain full compensation for losses. However, potential plaintiffs often worry that they may not be able to win a car accident lawsuit if they are partially at fault for the crash. In short, a plaintiff in New York can still recover damages even if she or he bears some responsibility for the accident. The following is some essential information about comparative fault in New York car accident claims.

Insurance Claims Use a “No Fault” System

Even if you are partially at fault for a car crash, you should certainly still begin the process of seeking compensation by filing an auto insurance claim. New York has a “no fault” auto insurance system that requires every driver to carry a $50,000 in no-fault benefits known as personal injury protection (PIP). This means that an insured who is injured in a car accident in New York can be eligible for compensation of up to $50,000 even if that injured person bears some responsibility for the accident. It is also important to know that obtaining no-fault benefits will not prevent an injured person from filing a lawsuit and seeking additional compensation from the at-fault driver.

Are You Eligible to File a Lawsuit?

Before you even reach the question of whether you should still file a lawsuit even if you are partially at fault, you will first need to determine whether you are eligible to file a lawsuit. Since New York uses a no-fault system, you must meet the threshold of having a serious injury in order to file a claim. You should speak with a car crash lawyer about whether your injury is serious enough to reach this threshold.

New York’s Contributory Negligence Law

Now, if you are eligible to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, you may be concerned that the driver will argue you are partially at fault for the collision. Under New York’s contributory negligence law, a plaintiff is not barred from recovery even if that plaintiff was also negligent. However, the plaintiff’s recovery will be diminished by his or her proportion of fault. For example, imagine a plaintiff sues an at-fault driver and the at-fault driver argues that the plaintiff was also negligent. If the court agrees that the plaintiff was also negligent and says the plaintiff was 10% at fault, the plaintiff’s recovery will be reduced by 10%.

Contact a New York Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney

If you were injured in a car crash in New York, it is extremely important to work with an experienced New York motor vehicle accident lawyer who can assist with your insurance claim and can help you to determine your eligibility for filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Even if the at-fault driver argues that you are partially at fault for the collision, we will do everything we can to show that you were not negligent and that your damages award should not be reduced. Contact Leitner Varughese Warywoda PLLC to learn more about the services we provide to those injured in auto accidents in New York.

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The information you obtain on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice.  You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

*Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.  The Firm's attorneys acted as trial counsel, attorneys of record and/or otherwise facilitated in the recoveries of the stated verdict and settlements.  Certain verdicts and settlements achieved by trial counsel and/or outside counsel.  Attorney advertising.