In Ohio, there are laws in place to determine legal culpability in personal injury cases where more than one party is at fault.. As a personal injury attorney, I advise my clients on the law, but I also ensure they fully understand that they can still file an injury claim even if they share in the fault of their injury.
Shared fault; contributory and comparative negligence.
The first thing I typically hear in shared-fault scenarios is that my client feels they are not able to pursue an injury claim because they may have had a part in the injury that occurred. This can be as simple as getting into a car accident and your turn signal was inoperable at the time of the accident. The other party can claim you are partially at fault because of a faulty turn signal on your vehicle. This doesn’t mean you are not entitled to a personal injury claim, it means I need to do my job as a legal expert to gain you the justice you deserve!
In cases of contributory negligence, where for example a person runs a red light and is injured in the resulting car accident, many states consider this grounds to prevent any legal recourse. Comparative negligence is very different and very complex, and in Ohio, we operate under a modified comparative negligence law.This means that if a person shares some burden of liability in the accident or injury, it can effect the amount of monetary compensation awarded. However if a person shares more than 50% of the liability, no injury claim can be filed.
Comparative Negligence Math
Using the previous example, if it is found that the faulty turn signal played a 5% role in the accident that occurred, the settlement/award would be reduced by 5%. This means the claimant would still receive 95% of the award value. The percentage breakdown is determined based on a variety of factors, including factual information from police reports, insurance reports, traffic and safety laws and more. This is obviously a very simplified example, and as we know, most cases are not this cut and dry. As your personal injury attorney, I will fight to prove that the other negligent party bares the burden of fault.
Ohio comparative negligence laws have been in place for almost 40 years, and have served to provide my clients a way to gain compensation and justice that is well deserved. Prior to these laws, and similar to contributive negligence, if you played any role in your injury then the negligent party could make the case that prevented the suit from ever being filed. It is important to understand your rights as the injured victim, and a large part of my job is to educate you and your loved ones.