Can I Recover Compensation If I Contributed To My Car Accident?

May 31, 2019 | By O'Connor Acciani & Levy
Can I Recover Compensation If I Contributed To My Car Accident?

There are some accidents that the victim may have played a part in. For instance, a driver who drives slightly over the speed limit and gets hit by a distracted driver can still hold some fault for the accident. If you have been in an accident that you are partially at fault for, it would be highly beneficial to learn more about Ohio’s contributory fault law and how it may affect the value of your claim. If you believe that you contributed to your car accident and would like more information, the experienced car accident attorneys in Cincinnati at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy can help. We can review your claim and determine whether you may still have a viable claim against the other party.

What Is The Comparative Negligence Law In Ohio?

Before Ohio’s comparative negligence law was passed, the state observed the principle of contributory negligence. Under this older system, if a person contributed to the accident in any way, he or she would be completely barred from filing a claim against the other party. This is no longer the law. Instead, the current law does not bar recovery for a person who may have contributed to his or her own accident. As long as your degree of fault is less than the combined fault of the other parties, you can still pursue your claim under Ohio’s comparative negligence law. However, the amount of your damages is reduced by the degree of your own fault. For example, if you are found 20 percent at fault for the accident and sustained $100,000 in damages, your potential award would be reduced by $20,000.

How Is My Share Of Negligence Determined?

Negligence is determined by assessing the following elements:
  • Duty – Duty of care is the legal responsibility that one person owes another. For example, motorists have the duty to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. They also have the duty to obey all traffic laws.
  • Breach of duty – A breach of duty occurs when the person does not exercise reasonable care or abide by the duty established by law.
  • Causation – The defendant’s breach of duty caused the victim to suffer injuries.
  • Damages – The victim suffered damages, such as medical expenses and lost wages.
In many accident cases, the defendant and the plaintiff may share fault, even if it is not an equal amount of fault. When an insurance claim is made, a claims adjuster is assigned to the case to investigate the facts surrounding the accident. For example, he or she may review the police report, pictures of the accident scene, property damage and medical bills. The insurance adjuster will determine the relative fault between the parties. If you disagree on the distribution of fault you are given, your lawyer can try to negotiate for a different degree of fault by providing evidence that proves the other party was more at fault for the accident if an appropriate amount of compensation is not provided, you may decide to pursue your case in court. In this situation, the judge or jury will have to determine the degree of fault of each party.

Contact An Experienced Lawyer For Help With Your Claim

If you were involved in an accident that involved negligence on the part of more than one party, our experienced personal injury attorneys at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy can help. We can discuss the particular circumstances involved in your case and conduct an investigation to estimate the potential liability of each party. We can also handle all communication with the insurance company and work to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.