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Partially Responsible for Causing a NJ Motorcycle Accident?

Can You Still Recover For Your Losses?

Partially-Responsible-for-Causing-a-NJ-Motorcycle-Accident-imgYou were out on your bike on a sunny day in late spring or early summer. Maybe you rolled through a stop sign, only to be driven off the road by another motorist traveling well over the speed limit. You wouldn’t have been hurt if he’d been obeying the law, but the accident also wouldn’t have happened if you’d come to a complete stop. What are your rights? Will the fact that you ran the stop sign prohibit you from recovering anything for your injury or loss? That depends.

Comparative Negligence in New Jersey

It’s fairly common for more than one party to contribute to causing a motor vehicle accident. Under the law as it existed for centuries (known as “contributory negligence”), a person who had even the slightest responsibility for causing an accident could not recover compensation for injuries sustained in that accident. As a result, defense attorneys looked for even the remotest involvement by an injured person in the cause of the accident. The result—many seriously injured people with minimal fault had no recourse against extremely careless or negligent defendants.

Because of the perceived inequities in personal injury claims outcomes, New Jersey (and most other states) replaced the principle of contributory negligence with the concept of comparative negligence. Under the comparative negligence approach, the jury first calculates the total amount of an injured person’s losses. Next, the jury determines the extent to which the injured person was at fault, stated as a percentage of liability. Finally, the jury reduces the recovery/damage award by the percent of liability.

For example, if you were careless on your motorcycle, causing an accident that resulted in $500,000 in losses, your recovery could be reduced by $125,000 if the jury determined that you were 25% responsible for causing the crash.

One caveat—New Jersey adheres to the principle of “modified comparative negligence.” That means that you can only recover compensation for your losses is you were less responsible for them than the defendant.

Contact the Law Offices of David J. Karbasian, PC

Send us an e-mail today or call us at 856-667-4666 / 856-600-HURT to schedule an appointment to discuss your personal injury claim. Evening and weekend consultations are available upon request. We can come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary.

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