Getting hurt in a Cleveland car crash is devastating. You may need weeks, months, or even years of medical care before you are able to get your life back. Sometimes injuries are so severe and debilitating that the car accident victim never recovers. If you know the other driver is at fault, it can be shocking to learn that the negligent driver is trying to avoid compensating you for your losses by arguing that you are partially to blame for the collision. I routinely represent clients in car accident lawsuits, and I know what kind of evidence you need to prove that contributory fault is not an issue in your case. When you contact me, I can begin gathering evidence to prove that you are entitled to full compensation because the other driver bears 100% of the responsibility for the wreck.

In the meantime, I want to tell you more about how contributory fault can affect a car accident claim and an injured party’s ability to recover compensation.

What is Comparative Negligence in Ohio? 

You might have heard about comparative fault, which is similar to contributory fault or contributory negligence in other states. This is usually a defense that the defendant will try to use to avoid being responsible for 100% of the damages in a car accident claim. In short, the doctrine of contributory fault says a plaintiff can bear some responsibility for his or her injuries, and as a result, that plaintiff’s damage award either can be diminished or barred based on the plaintiff’s portion of fault. In other words, the plaintiff’s damages award can be affected when the plaintiff contributes to the overall fault for the accident.

Different states approach comparative and contributory fault in various ways. Some states bar a plaintiff’s ability to recover anything as soon as that plaintiff is found to be even 1% responsible—even if the defendant is clearly 99% responsible. Other states say a plaintiff can recover whether that plaintiff is 1% or 99% at fault, but that plaintiff’s damages award will get reduced by his or her portion of fault. Ohio has what we call a “51% bar” to recovery. What does this mean? Under Ohio’s comparative negligence law, if a plaintiff is 50% or less at fault for a car accident, the plaintiff still recovers damages. However, the plaintiff’s damages award will be reduced by that plaintiff’s portion of fault. Once a plaintiff is 51% or more at fault, however, the plaintiff is barred from any recovery.

How Comparative Fault Works in Practice 

If the defendant brings up contributory fault, it is essential to have a lawyer on your side to prove that you are not even partially at fault for the car crash. In the event a plaintiff is found partially responsible, how does contributory fault affect the damages award?

Say a car accident plaintiff is awarded a jury verdict of $500,000, but the jury also decides the plaintiff is 20% at fault. The $500,000 verdict would be reduced by the plaintiff’s portion of fault, or 20% ($100,000), and the plaintiff would get a total of $400,000.

Seek Advice From an Ohio Car Accident Lawyer

I have been serving Ohio injury victims for decades, and I will work tirelessly to hold the negligent driver accountable for your car accident injuries and to defend against any contributory fault allegations. Contact me at 877.944.4373 today to find out about filing a car accident claim. I’ll Make Them Pay!®

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