How Comparative Fault Works in Washington Personal Injury Cases
When someone is injured in a personal injury accident, such as a car accident or slip and fall, the question of fault arises. In some cases, both parties may be partially responsible for the accident. In this situation, comparative fault is relevant. In Washington State, comparative fault is used to determine the extent to which each party is responsible for the accident and the resulting injuries.
What is Comparative Fault?
Comparative fault, also known as comparative negligence, is a legal principle that allows for the apportionment of fault between two or more parties in a personal injury case. Under comparative fault, each party is assigned a percentage of fault based on their actions leading up to the accident. This percentage is then used to determine the amount of damages each party is responsible for paying.
How Does Comparative Fault Work in Washington State?
Washington State follows a system of pure comparative fault. This means that even if a plaintiff is found to be partially at fault for the accident, they may still recover damages from the other party. The amount of damages the plaintiff can recover will be reduced by their percentage of fault.
For example, if a plaintiff is found to be 25% at fault for an accident and is awarded $100,000 in damages, their recovery would be reduced to $75,000 (i.e. $100,000 – 25%). This allows for a fair and equitable distribution of fault and ensures that each party is held accountable for their actions.
Proving Comparative Fault in Personal Injury Cases
In order to prove comparative fault in a personal injury case, the defendant must show that the plaintiff’s actions contributed to the accident and resulting injuries. This can be done through witness testimony, physical evidence, and expert testimony.
For example, if a plaintiff was texting while driving and caused a car accident, the defendant may argue that the plaintiff’s distraction contributed to the accident and that they should be assigned a percentage of fault.
Working with a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been injured in a personal injury accident in Washington State, it is important to work with a personal injury lawyer who understands comparative fault and can help you navigate the legal process. Investigating the accident, gathering evidence, and pursuing a lawsuit can be done by your lawyer build a case supporting your damages claim. They can also negotiate with the other party or their insurance company to ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries.