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Comparative Fault in Personal Injury Cases

Learn How Being Partially At Fault in an Accident Affects Your Legal Rights from an Experienced Columbus Personal Injury Lawyer

Under Ohio law, when you are injured in an accident that is someone else’s fault, you are entitled to just compensation. But what happens when you are partially to blame for your own injuries? This is where Ohio’s “comparative fault” law comes into play. Cases involving comparative fault are complicated, and to ensure that the insurance companies don’t treat you unfairly, you will need an experienced Columbus personal injury lawyer on your side.

Understanding Ohio’s Comparative Fault Law

Different states have different comparative fault laws. In some states, you can file a claim regardless of your percentage of fault in an accident. In others, even being one percent at fault can prevent you from filing a successful claim. Ohio’s law falls in the middle, following the principle of “modified comparative negligence.”

The comparative fault law as it appears in Section 2315.33 of the Ohio Revised Statutes states:

“The contributory fault of a person does not bar the person as plaintiff from recovering damages that have directly and proximately resulted from the tortious conduct of one or more other persons if the contributory fault of the plaintiff was not greater than the combined tortious conduct of all other persons . . . . The court shall diminish any compensatory damages recoverable by the plaintiff by an amount that is proportionately equal to the percentage of tortious conduct of the plaintiff . . . .”

If you find this confusing, you are not alone. Here are the key points you need to know:

  • If you are 50 percent or less at fault in an accident, you are entitled to partial compensation for your injuries.
  • If you are 51 percent or more at fault in an accident, you are not entitled to any compensation for your injuries.
  • When you have a claim for partial compensation, the amount you are entitled to recover is determined based on your percentage of fault.

To illustrate, here are examples of comparative fault. We’ll use a few examples to illustrate. Let’s say you were injured in an accident, and your total losses are $100,000. In this scenario:

  • If the accident was entirely someone else’s fault, you would be entitled to recover all $100,000 of your losses.
  • If you were 50 percent at fault, you would be entitled to recover 50 percent of your losses, or $50,000.
  • If you were 51 percent at fault, you would not be entitled to any financial compensation, even though you suffered substantial losses that were partially due to someone else’s negligence.

As you can see, Ohio’s comparative fault law can play a major role in your personal injury claim—and, as you might expect, the insurance companies will try hard to blame you for your own injuries. To give yourself the best chance of recovering the maximum compensation available, you should seek help from an experienced Columbus personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

Discuss Your Legal Rights with a Columbus Personal Injury Lawyer for Free

Do you need to know more about protecting your legal rights after a serious accident in Ohio? If so, we encourage you to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at Malek & Malek Law Firm. Call us at 888-444-7440 or contact us online to schedule an appointment today.