For many people, the blame for their injury is easy to place. Individuals involved in a car accident with a negligent driver know who to point the blame at. The same is true for someone who suffers a fall injury due to a carelessness of a property owner. But can I claim personal injury if it was my fault? The short answer, with conditions, is Yes.
Personal injury cases are often straight forward when there is little doubt as to the identify of the responsible party. Things can become more complicated if you share in the blame for the accident. The good news is that under some circumstances you could pursue a personal injury claim even if your accident was your fault.
It is important to remember that your degree of liability is a legal question best left to an attorney. You might be surprised to learn that another party is responsible for your injuries despite your feelings of guilt about an accident. The team at Olson & Sons could evaluate your case and advise you on your options.
What Is Comparative Negligence in Hawai’i?
When an injured party shares in the responsibility for an accident, a legal standard known as comparative negligence applies. The good news is that many plaintiffs could still recover financial compensation for an injury that they played a part in causing. However, their share of liability could limit their compensation or in some cases bar it entirely.
There are different types of comparative negligence standards across the country. While each state addresses this issue differently, Hawaii takes an approach that is commonly referred to as the 51% rule. Under this rule, you have the chance to secure financial compensation for your injuries as long as you are less than 51 percent at fault for the injury. If you are primarily at fault, the rule bars you entirely from recovering compensation from the other party.
There is another aspect of this rule you should be aware of. While you have the right to pursue a claim for compensation when your liability is less than 51 percent, that does not mean you will recover all of the damages stemming from your injury.
Under comparative negligence, you are only entitled to recover the percentage of your damages that are attributable to the other party. That means the higher your degree of fault, the smaller percentage of your damages will be awarded to you.
How a Jury Applies Comparative Negligence in Hawai’i
The process of awarding damages under the comparative negligence standard is a two-step process. The judge or jury will first evaluate the evidence you present regarding the total amount of damages you are owed. This includes everything from your medical expenses to your pain and suffering.
The second step involves assigning every party to the lawsuit a percentage of fault that equals 100. If the defendant is entirely at fault, they will receive 100% of the fault and you will receive 0%. The court can divide the degree of fault any way it chooses.
Consider the following example. If you suffer $100,000 worth of damages in an accident, your degree of fault will determine how much of those damages you are likely to recover. If the jury finds you 0% at fault, you could receive the full amount of damages. If you are found to be 75% at fault, the court will not award you any damages at all. If you are found to be 10% at fault, the court will enter an award of $90,000, which is 90% of the damages you suffered.
How a Personal Injury Attorney in Kamuela or Kona Could Help
Far too many injury victims assume that they are not entitled to financial compensation due to the role they have played in causing their own accident. A consultation with an experienced attorney could provide crucial guidance that could show them they are entitled to a monetary award.
Our firm could review the facts of your case and advise you on whether you are partially at fault. Liability is a legal determination, and we are prepared to rely on our skill and experience to advise you on whether you face liability for your injuries.
Even if we determine you share in some of the fault of your own injuries, we may still be able to help you secure the compensation you deserve. Our team will negotiate with the other side in an effort to resolve your case through a negotiated settlement.
Discuss Your Claim in Kona or Kamuela with Olson & Sons
If you’re asking can I claim personal injury if it was my fault, the answer could be Yes. You could succeed with your personal injury claim even if you were partially at fault. Hawaii recognizes a legal doctrine known as comparative negligence. Under this rule, you could be entitled to a monetary award as long as you are less than 51% responsible for your own injuries.
The team of personal injury lawyers in Kona or Kamuela at Olson & Sons is ready to help you pursue your personal injury case. To learn how comparative fault could impact your recovery, schedule your free consultation right away.