Were you or a loved one hurt in an accident that wasn’t your fault? At Church & Page, we’ve handled many car accident cases for Washington residents, each one vastly different than the last. If you’ve been hurt in an accident, you likely want to pursue filing a personal injury claim so you can seek financial compensation for the damages you suffered. The amount of money you can receive from a personal injury claim, if you are eligible to receive any money at all, will depend upon who acted negligently and caused the accident.

In the context of personal injury claims, we discuss negligence when determining who is at fault for the accident in question, and the subsequent injuries that occurred. There are four different types of negligence:

  • Ordinary negligence
  • Gross negligence
  • Comparative negligence
  • Contributory negligence

As personal injury lawyers, we typically deal with ordinary negligence. This type of negligence has occurred when an individual, such as the driver involved in a car accident, does not operate their vehicle with reasonable caution. All drivers on the road owe a duty of care to others, so ordinary negligence has occurred if a driver did not uphold this simple duty of care. If a driver acted in such a way that a reasonably cautious individual would not have, we consider this a situation in which ordinary negligence has occurred.

This duty of care in question varies depending on the nature of the accident. In a car accident case, as previously mentioned, all drivers owe a duty of care to others on the road, and must always drive with caution and regard for the safety of others. In certain cases, the conditions of this duty of care is different, such as when an individual trespasses onto private property, or when a doctor is operating on a patient. Since every accident and injury case are different, be sure to contact a personal injury lawyer with any specific questions you may have.

What Is Gross Negligence

When a car accident is caused by one individual’s recklessness, carelessness, negligence or otherwise an indifference to the wellbeing of others, this is typically when gross negligence has occurred. Gross negligence differs from ordinary negligence. It’s considered more harmful than ordinary negligence, as gross negligence demonstrates that the individual in question knew that their actions would cause injury, illness, or harm to others, and their actions were intentional.

What Is Comparative Negligence?

Comparative negligence refers to when more than one person is at fault for the accident or subsequent injuries that occurred after an accident. It’s important to note that Washington is a “pure comparative negligence” system. This means that you can get compensation for damages after an accident even if you are 99% at fault for causing your own injury. Under comparative negligence, accident victims get a reduced amount of compensation in their settlement, which is based upon the percentage of fault they hold in causing the accident.

Around the United States, there are many different types of comparative negligence doctrines. Stome states uphold a “modified comparative negligence law” to govern accident cases where more than one person is to blame. In states that use the modified comparative negligence law, accident victims can typically recover compensation for their damages as long as they aren’t 50% or more responsible.

What Is Contributory Negligence?

Under contributory negligence, “a plaintiff is totally barred from recovery if they were in any way negligent in causing the accident, even if the negligence of the defendant was much more serious.” Not all states use the “contributory negligence” system, so be sure to check with your attorney in your initial consultation.

Under this negligence-based system, an accident victim can not recover compensation for their damages if they are responsible for the accident, and the subsequent injuries that occurred. Even if you are only responsible for a small percentage of the accident and injury, you won’t be able to seek compensation for your damages after the accident.

Can I Still File A Personal Injury Claim If I’m At Fault For My Accident?

Every accident case is different. The only way to know if you are eligible to file a personal injury claim is to contact a personal injury lawyer from Church & Page to discuss your case. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation to any accident victim in Washington who is unsure who is negligent in their accident situation, and has questions about seeking compensation for their damages.

Contact Church & Page today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation regarding your accident. We help Washington accident victims with cases concerning car accidents, motorcycle accidents, dog bites, slip and fall accidents, pedestrian injuries, work accidents and more.