In the state of New Jersey, anyone who has been injured by another person's
negligent actions is entitled to pursue compensation in civil court. Depending
on the circumstances of the accident, one may be able to request damages
for both economic and non-economic losses—which would include factors
like pain and suffering, loss of companionship, loss of consortium, etc.
But what happens when the victim had a hand in causing their own injuries?
Well, personal injury cases are handled on the basis of "modified comparative negligence" in New Jersey, which means that the plaintiff can only recover an
amount of compensation that is indicative of their own level of culpability.
If, for example, the victim had been crossing the street illegally at
the time that they were hit by a drunk driver, their negligence must also
be taken into consideration.
When the case is brought to court, a judge or jury would be responsible
for determining each party's level of fault—meaning both the
plaintiff and the defendant(s). If it is decided that the victim was less
than 51% responsible for contributing to their own harm, they would still
be able to recover a portion of the original damages. The subsequent award
would just be diminished by their deemed percentage of fault. For example,
the plaintiff would be entitled to $80,000 if they were found to be 20%
responsible for causing an accident that resulted in $100,000 in damages.
If it was decided that they were more than 51% at fault, however, they
would be entitled to nothing. They would also be putting themselves at
risk of being targeted in a counter-lawsuit—as the defendant would
then have a legitimate reason to turn around and sue the plaintiff, if
they too have been injured.
For this reason, it is crucial that you consult with a Bergen County personal
injury lawyer before initiating any sort of lawsuit in New Jersey. You
will want to ensure that your own level of responsibility is factored
into the equation when deciding on what course of action to take, as you
could face serious ramifications later on if you fail to do so. With an
experienced legal professional by your side, however, you can move forward
with confidence. As such, the legal team at Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney
at Law encourages you to get in touch with the firm as soon as possible.
When you call our office at (201) 870-1909, you are guaranteed to hear
back from us within 12 hours. You can also reach us online by submitting
a free case evaluation form directly from our website –
click here to get started.