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Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney / Blog / Personal Injury / Can You Be Compensated If You Were Partially Responsible For Your Car Accident?

Can You Be Compensated If You Were Partially Responsible For Your Car Accident?


Not all car accidents are so black and white, that it is always 100% clear who is at fault and who isn’t. And while you should always get the opinion of a qualified car accident or personal injury attorney, instead of making these decisions yourself, you may find yourself in an accident and feel like you had some role in causing the accident.

Get Legal Help and Advice

Before you get discouraged and decline to get an attorney’s opinion, you should go into a personal injury lawyer’s office to discuss your case. You may be surprised to learn that you aren’t as at fault as you initially thought.

Accidents where both parties may be at fault to some degree, are difficult cases, but victims can find that they are entitled to some compensation for their injuries.

Comparative Negligence

Rhode Island follows a pure comparative fault rule. This means that even if you are responsible for your accident, you can recover whatever percentage of damages the other side may have been responsible for the accident or your damages.

To understand how this works, let’s look at an example: You are a pedestrian. You crossed the street somewhere that there was no crosswalk—basically, you jaywalked, and an oncoming car clipped you.

At first glance, it may seem like nothing can be done—you jaywalked, crossed somewhere you weren’t supposed to cross, and seemingly, were in the wrong.

But it turns out that the car that hit you could have or should have seen you had every opportunity to avoid you, and yet, it did not. Maybe the car driver was distracted, or driving too fast—either way, despite your jaywalking, the car that hit you could have avoided the accident but did not.

You Can Still Recover

At trial, the jury finds that you were 70% responsible for the accident, and that you suffered $200,000 in total damages. Under Rhode Island’s comparative fault system, that means that you would recover $60,000 (30% of $200,000).

Taking this example to the extreme, if the jury hypothetically found you 99% responsible for the accident, you would still be able to recover 1% as compensation, or $2,000. Obviously this is not ideal, and many would probably consider this “losing a case,” but it just illustrates that in Rhode Island, a victim does not have to be completely without fault, to get some compensation.

When Defendants Point the Finger

Sometimes, the Defendant will blame you for the accident trying to get the jury to give you as much responsibility for your accident or injuries as possible. This is a common tactic.

When this happens, your injury attorney can use accident reconstruction experts, pictures, or other evidence, to try to get the jury to shift as much responsibility for the accident as possible to the other side.

What will the Defendant say in your case? We can help you anticipate when the other side will do, and help you get the compensation you need. Contact our Rhode Island personal injury lawyers at Robert E. Craven & Associates at 401-453-2700 today.




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