While a number of our posts have focused on the dangers of being on the road in New Jersey. We have not highlighted how the law treats injured parties when their own actions may have contributed to the accident that injured them.
For instance, a driver quickly checks his phone to see if someone called. He briefly takes his eyes off the road to send a quick text back. However, in the 3-4 seconds not seeing traffic in front of him he slams on the brakes to avoid hitting a car in stopped traffic. He avoids crashing into the car in front of him, but the car following behind (albeit too closely) rear ends him.
The driver sues the person who hit him, but based on New Jersey’s system of comparative negligence, his recovery could be reduced. Essentially, the percentage of one’s recovery could be reduced by the negligence that contributed to the accident. For example, if the driver’s actions in checking his cell phone are found to be 25 percent responsible and he is awarded $20,000 in damages, he may only recover $15,000 (or 75 percent of the damage award). If he is found to be 51 percent or more responsible for the crash, he could be barred from any recovery.
The specter of being absolved of responsibility in a car accident is certainly enough to get some legal advice. If you have more questions about comparative negligence works in car accident cases, an experienced personal injury attorney can help.
Source: Source: FindLaw.com – Contributory and Comparative Negligence