When faced with a personal injury case, knowing how to proceed and exercising your rights can be complex and difficult to navigate. Oftentimes, insurance companies may wrongly attribute fault, causing innocent parties to pay thousands of dollars in damages. However, victims may have options to negotiate fault and recover compensation through a couple different methods. 

Understanding Personal Injury Cases

Knowing how to navigate a personal injury case starts with an essential understanding of the basics. A personal injury case revolves around any legal disputes where an individual alleges physical and/or psychological harm due to another party’s negligence or intentional actions. Personal injury cases can arise from a variety of different scenarios including but not limited to car accidents, slip-and-falls, and medical malpractice

Fault In Personal Injury Cases

Fault, in personal injury cases, is centered around determining who bears responsibilities for the injuries and damages sustained and to what degree. Understanding the nuances of fault is critical because it directly influences the outcome of your case and the compensation victims may recover. 

There are two types of fault that state laws follow: comparative fault and contributory fault

Comparative Fault

Different states follow various rules for assigning liability. Some states adhere to pure comparative fault, which means that even if you’re mostly responsible for your injuries, you can still seek compensation. In contrast, others follow modified comparative fault, where your compensation is reduced based on your level of fault. Typically, a percentage of fault is assigned to the involved parties.

Contributory Fault

A few states have laws that are harsher for plaintiffs. Under contributory fault, if the injured party is found even slightly at fault, they may receive no compensation whatsoever. 

Can You Negotiate Fault In A Personal Injury Case? 

Negotiating fault in a personal injury case is not only possible but a critical aspect of achieving a favorable outcome. Here are some strategies to consider:

Collect Strong Evidence

Successfully supporting your position with strong evidence is critical to get a desired outcome. Some evidence may include:

  • Medical Records: Detailed medical records documenting injuries, treatment, and prognosis.
  • Witness Statements: Statements from individuals who witnessed the incident and can attest to the events leading to the injury.
  • Photographs: Visual evidence of the accident scene, injuries, or damage to property.
  • Expert Opinions: Testimonies from expert witnesses who can provide insights into the cause of the injury and liability.

Seek Legal Counsel

Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney can help victims navigate a complex case. An attorney can: 

  • Assess Your Case: They will evaluate your case and provide a clear direction for taking your case. 
  • Identify Strong Arguments: A skilled attorney can structure a strong argument in your favor, bolstering your position during negotiations .
  • Negotiate on Your Behalf: An attorney will engage in negotiations with the other parties, striving to secure you a favorable settlement. 

Explore Mediation

Mediation is another avenue worth exploring when negotiating fault in a personal injury case. A mediation involves a neutral third party that acts as a facilitator, guiding discussions between both parties. This process encourages compromise and resolution, potentially averting the need for a costly and time-consuming trial. It’s highly encouraged to get legal representation to ensure your rights are being protected. 

Prepare For Litigation

Though reaching a settlement through negotiation is ideal, it’s important to be prepared in case they fail. Victims should be ready to take their case to court. A trial can provide a formal forum to present your case and have a judge or jury determine fault and liability. 

Get Your Liability Fairly Assessed 

Negotiating a fault is a pivotal component in achieving a favorable outcome in your case. By following the strategies outlined in this article, you can navigate an unfair assessment in liability for your personal injury case.