How Does Your Own Negligence Affect The Value of Your Auto Claim?
The question is: how does your own negligence, or your own carelessness, affect the value of your personal injury claim. In most states we have what is called comparative negligence, which means if you have a claim that is worth X amount of dollars a jury or an insurance adjuster can reduce the value of that claim based upon your own negligence. For example, if you are involved in a car accident and you bring the case to trial, a jury will listen to all of the evidence and determine if you have a legitimate injury for which you are entitled to be compensated for. The jury can determine that the value of your injury maybe for example a $100,000. Once the jury determines the reward amount, the judge will instruct them to reduce that reward based on a percentage of your negligence, hence comparative negligence. During the accident if the jury feels that you are a certain percentage at fault, for example your roll in the automobile accident by let’s say you were not wearing your seatbelt, the jury may be entitled to reduce the value of their judgment based upon your own negligence. So if your claim was worth $100,000 and the jury determines that you are 10% at fault, then the value of your claim as determined by the judge after the verdict would be $100,000 less 10% of your comparative negligence, therefore reducing your claim to $90,000. In most states prior to having a law suit, the insurance adjuster or the insurance lawyers will explain to your lawyer that they believe you bear some of the responsibility for the accident. They will be citing comparative negligence. In order to evaluate your claim carefully, thoroughly and honestly, they will reduce what they offer you based upon your own negligence or what you may have done wrong during the accident. If this is done, do not be alarmed. Those folks are citing the comparative negligence doctrine and reducing your claim to what it is really worth.
The personal injury attorneys at Carlson, Meissner, Hart & Hayslett, P.A., fighting for our clients rights in personal injury cases in Clearwater, Tampa, Bradenton, Spring Hill, Pinellas, Pasco, New Port Richey, Manatee, Hillsborough and Hernando Counties in Florida.
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