How Your Own Carelessness May Affect Your Claim

West Chester, Mason, and Cincinnati Ohio

Even if you were careless and partly caused an accident, in most states you can still get at least some compensation from anyone else who was also careless and partly responsible for the accident. The amount of the other person's liability for the accident is determined by comparing his or her carelessness with your own. That party's portion of liability determines the percentage of the resulting damages he or she must pay. This rule of comparing fault is known as "comparative negligence."


Comparative negligence is applied in three slightly different ways, depending on the state where the accident occurred. The more generous states allow you to recover compensation for your injuries in an amount based on the other person's fault, no matter how great your own fault was. Most states, however, use a slightly more restrictive rule, under which you can't recover anything if your own carelessness was 50% or more responsible for the accident. Finally, a few states don't allow you to recover any compensation at all if your fault is any more than "slight" compared to the fault of the others involved, or if your own carelessness contributed in any way to the accident.


There is no formula for arriving at a precise number for a person's comparative negligence. During negotiations, your attorney and an insurance adjuster will discuss all of the factors that might have caused the accident. Then, the question of your own carelessness will be considered, along with all the other factors that determine how much your claim is worth -- such as the seriousness of your injuries and the amount of your medical bills.

Finding an Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident while riding a motorcycle, the most important step in your legal recovery is to meet with a skilled attorney to discuss your situation. Issues in your potential claim, including compliance with traffic laws, motor vehicle regulations, medical treatment issues, and liability determinations, all require the expertise of an attorney who is experienced in the area of motorcycle accident liability. In light of legal deadlines for filing injury claims, meeting with an attorney to evaluate your case as soon as possible is highly recommended.