If you have been injured in a car accident, you may be wondering if you can still collect damages even if you were partly at fault. The answer depends on the state in which the accident occurred. Many states use the legal doctrine of modified comparative negligence to determine whether an injured person can recover damages from another party.
Defining Modified Comparative Negligence
Under the doctrine of modified comparative negligence, an injured person may only recover damages from another party if they were found to be less than 50 percent at fault for the accident. For example, if an individual was 40 percent at fault for an accident, they could still recover 60 percent of the damages from the other parties involved.
However, if an individual is found to be 50 percent or more at fault for an accident, they are barred from recovering any damages.
Alternative Negligence Rules
Many states, including Oklahoma, prefer the doctrine of modified comparative negligence because it allows some flexibility in determining fault while still protecting individuals from having to bear the full brunt of an accident if they were not primarily at fault. This should be of note because the alternative negligence doctrine is less than generous.
Contributory Negligence Doctrine
Under contributory negligence, if an individual is even slightly at fault for an accident, they are completely barred from recovering damages. So, if an individual is 1 percent at fault for an accident, they would not be able to recover any damages from the other parties involved, no matter how much blame those parties deserved.
This doctrine was once prevalent in the United States. However, it has largely fallen out of favor because it can result in unfair outcomes. For example, imagine two individuals are involved in a car accident. One individual is driving while looking at their phone and causes the accident. The other individual is driving, albeit speeding, when they are hit.
Under contributory negligence, the second driver would not be able to recover any damages from the first driver, even though the first driver was primarily at fault for the accident.
Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys in Oklahoma City
If you were involved in a car accident in Oklahoma, Fulmer Sill can help. We have experience handling all types of car accident cases and can help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at (405) 433-7414 or fill out our form online to learn more about how we can help you.