Clarksburg Comparative Negligence Lawyer
Whenever someone is injured in a Clarksburg car accident, the level of fault-or, in other words, negligence-of the drivers will play a role in determining who is eligible for compensation in a West Virginia injury claim. This means that if you are injured in a Clarksburg car accident, your ability to collect damages is directly related to the level of fault you are assigned for the accident as well as the negligence of the other driver.
Understanding Negligence in a Clarksburg Car Accident
A person can be held legally responsible for any injuries that you may sustain in a Clarksburg car accident if they are found to have acted in a careless manner.Negligence in a car accident helps to determine fault. Establishing fault is important in order to recover damages for your injuries.
To establish negligence in a Clarksburg car accident, the following elements must be proven about the other driver:
- They had a legal duty of care to you;
- They failed to act on that legal duty of care;
- They caused an accident; and
- You sustained injuries as a result of that accident.
For example, if a driver approaches a red light, he or she is obligated by law to stop and yield the right-of-way to the vehicles with a green light. Therefore, if you are within the line of traffic with the green light, all of the drivers at the red light have a legal duty to halt and allow you to safely proceed.
If a driver fails to stop at the red light and instead, speeds through, he or she has failed to act on a legal duty of care to you. As a result of speeding through the red light the driver may collide with your vehicle and cause you to sustain injuries. This scenario would be a case of negligence.
In the second part of our article, we explain the negligence law observed in West Virginia, known as modified comparative negligence.
What is Comparative Negligence?
Negligence isn’t always as easy to determine as it was in our previous example of the driver running a red light and different states use different standards to establish negligence. Negligence can be classified as contributory negligence or comparative negligence. Unlike contributory negligence, where any fault you may have had in a car accident will prevent you from recovering damages, comparative negligence allows you to recover damages even if you were at fault.
There are generally 2 types of comparative negligence:
- Pure Comparative Negligence (a percentage of negligence is given to each responsible party); or
- Modified Comparative Negligence (West Virginia observes a version of this system.)
Modified Comparative Negligence at a Glance
Under modified comparative negligence, each responsible party is assigned a percentage of negligence.Damages are then based on that percentage and a claimant may or may not be able to recover damages.
Modified Comparative Negligence – 50% Rule
With the 50% rule, a claimant can only recover damages if their fault in the accident was 49% or less. If they are found to be 50% at fault for the accident, they are not able to receive damages for the injuries they may have sustained.
The state of West Virginia follows the modified comparative negligence – 50% rule.
How Will Your Fault Impact Your Claim in Clarksburg?
Your ability to demonstrate your relative lack of negligence in your Clarksburg car accident will have a direct impact on your ability to collect compensation in a West Virginia injury claim.
This is why it is so important to take steps after your car accident to collect the evidence that your Clarksburg car accident lawyer will need in order to show that another driver’s negligence was responsible for your accident and injuries. This type of evidence might include photos of the accident scene and damage to the vehicles, witness statements and the police report.
Depending upon the circumstances of your accident, your attorney may be able to build a case that shows you were less than 49% at fault for your accident and therefore, eligible for damages.
Contacting a Clarksburg Car Accident Lawyer
Don’t let someone else’s negligence leave you burdened with medical bills and lost wages. If you have been injured in a Clarksburg car accident, contact an injury attorney in Clarksburg who can help determine who was legally responsible for your car accident.