Can I Still Pursue A Car Accident Claim If I Was Partially At Fault?

It is easy to feel overwhelmed in the moments and hours following a car crash, especially if you think that you are partially at fault for the collision. You might wonder if you can even file a claim if you share some of the blame for the accident.

At Cellino Law, we understand the stress you are likely feeling after a car accident and we have the experience to help you navigate the complexities of an accident claim when multiple people are at fault. Contact our car accident lawyers today for a risk-free consultation and learn more about how much your claim might be worth, even if you are partially at fault.

How Comparative Negligence Works in New York

When multiple parties share in the fault for a car accident, the principle of comparative negligence comes into play. Comparative negligence law states that the amount you can recover in an accident claim correlates directly with your degree of fault in the accident. New York’s law is purely comparative, meaning that you can recover compensation even if the court assigns you the majority of fault in the accident. For example, you can still pursue a claim even if you are 70% at fault for the crash, but the value of your settlement would be 70% less than if you were not at fault.

This is as opposed to other states which might enforce a variation of the rule that prevents affected individuals from recovering any compensation if they bear 50% or more of the responsibility for causing an accident. Some states even follow a harsh contributory negligence law barring an affected driver from receiving any financial recovery if they share any liability whatsoever in the accident.

New York’s comparative negligence law can be beneficial in ensuring that motorists receive the amount of compensation they truly deserve after an accident, but it can add layers of complication to an already stressful accident claim. It is necessary to keep meticulous records of the damages and injuries you sustain and to prove the exact value of those damages. That is why it is important to have an experienced legal team on your side that can bear that burden for you with practiced expertise while you focus on recovery.

What To Do After a Car Accident

The first thing to keep in mind when a car accident occurs is that you should not admit fault or take any kind of responsibility until you speak with a car accident lawyer, even if you feel that you are partially at fault. If you apologize or admit to negligence, it can be all too easy for the other party or their insurance provider to twist your words to convince a judge that you share a greater deal of the blame than you actually do.

Your other top priorities in the minutes following a crash are to seek immediate medical attention, document the scene with photographs and witness statements if you are able and exchange information with the other drivers involved. These steps are not only for your own well-being but also for strengthening your accident claim with thorough records and evidence.

Starting the claims process is another step to take soon after your accident, and one that you can and should do even if you think you are partially at fault. Keep in mind that there is a statute of limitations of three years for filing a personal injury claim after a car accident in New York, but waiting too long can reduce your chances of securing full compensation due to the loss of evidence over time.

Assigning Fault in a Car Accident

Law enforcement officers, insurance investigators and ultimately the judge in charge of your accident case will determine fault based on the circumstances of the crash and the evidence available. It is especially important to have a legal team to support you when the authorities are assigning fault, as they can present evidence in your favor to prove your degree of fault or lack thereof. Our team at Cellino Law can also stand up for you and appeal a judge’s decision regarding the degree of fault if it seems as though the court regards your liability unfairly.

Evidence that the court will look to when assigning fault includes:

  • Photos or videos of the scene
  • Reports on the extent and nature of the damages
  • Witness statements
  • Police responder statements
  • Medical records

Presenting your own medical records and documentation of the accident can ensure a fair review of the accident from all perspectives. Involving a car accident lawyer early on in the process can help by guaranteeing that you have a professional on your side to help compile these important pieces of evidence.

Damages You Can Recover After a Car Accident

Even if you are partially at fault for a car accident, you can still receive the same types of compensation as any other individual affected by the actions of a negligent driver. These are recoverable damages, but receiving the full amount of compensation you deserve requires proving the presence of these recoverable damages in your case:

  • Medical expenses
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress or mental anguish
  • Disability

Having a car accident lawyer on your side means having valuable support when it comes to discovering recoverable damages. Our team at Cellino Law can investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident, evaluate the recoverable damages in your case and help you understand the amount of compensation you can expect even when comparative negligence is at play.

How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You When Multiple Drivers Are at Fault

It is important to keep in mind the unique complications of a car accident case in which you are partially at fault. Matters become even more overwhelming if three or more parties had involvement in the collision, each with their own varying degrees of fault.

A car accident lawyer can do for you to help you experience a stress-free recovery and will bear the burden of presenting your accident claim by:

  • Investigating the circumstances of your accident
  • Handling paperwork and administrative tasks
  • Negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf
  • Advocate for you in court if necessary
  • Support you at every step of the process

Car crash incidents with comparative fault are full of minute details that insurance providers and other at-fault parties might try to manipulate in an attempt to avoid paying out the complete settlement you deserve. Your personal injury attorney can advocate for you in discussions with these parties to ensure nobody takes advantage of you during a vulnerable time.

Contact Cellino Law Today for a Free Consultation

You can absolutely pursue a car accident claim even if you are partially at fault and secured what the other party owes to you for their share of the blame. However, comparative fault can make a personal injury case much more complex, time-consuming and overall burdensome for you when recovery should be your top priority. If you experience a car accident in New York, contact Cellino Law by calling (800) 555-5555 or by filling out our online form for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you secure the favorable outcome you deserve.



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  • Joe and I just wanted to send you this note thanking you for the professional way you handled our lawsuit. Your kindness was extremely appreciated in a very difficult time. When we found out the people that caused the accident had no insurance, we thought our chances of receiving any settlement was nonexistent. Once we met with you and released you were able to help us our minds were put at ease. Your aggressive manner of handling the case exceeded our expectations. Please feel free to use us as a reference. Thank you so much and best wishes,

    Danielle and Joe

  • Thank you for your time, effort, and hard work on my case. I appreciate your expertise and compassion. I never experienced what I went through and I would have been completely lost without you.


  • Choosing the right attorney to represent you after an accident can make all the difference. This is no cliche. I recently experienced these words to live by first hand. After a tractor trailer rear ended me at high speed in 2017 I retained Allan Silverstein to handle my case. I quickly realized that bringing a lawsuit rapidly snowballs into a mountain of details that can make or break your results. Documents, case histories, doctor visits, bills, and lots of phone calls all need to be accurately kept track of if a successful outcome it to be attained. To complicate matters I reside in New York and the incident took place in New Jersey. Luckily, Allan was licensed in multiple states. I was fortunate to find Allan to handle this matter from the New York area. Armed with an accurate account of the facts Allan went to work on the difficult job of negotiating with the defending insurance company as well as my no fault carrier in order to obtain the best possible outcome for my set of circumstances. In a lawsuit communication is key and and events can be of a timely nature. Allan never failed to return my calls - usually the same day! He fought skillfully and respectfully to get me the best possible settlement. He is easy to deal with and a likeable down to earth guy. He always listened with compassion and respect to my issues. He guided me with objective understanding as well as a realistic analysis of the merits of my case. When we finally settled Allan got me a fair agreement beyond my expectations and negotiated with my doctors to make sure all my bills were paid. It was a great experience having Allan represent me. Quality work in any aspect of life is hard to find. Quality is what I got with Allan Silverstein. I highly recommend him if you find yourself in need of a personal injury attorney.


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