Dawkins & Gowens Law Firm

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Can I receive damages if I am partly to blame for a car accident?


Sometimes more than one party may be to blame when an accident, such as a car accident, occurs. One party, however, may share the majority of the blame and leave a victim badly injured or otherwise harmed. Victims of car accidents may think that they cannot pursue a claim for the liability of the careless or negligent party if they were partly responsible for the accident, but that is not necessarily true.

Comparative negligence is a system that allocates damages according to fault for an accident. Comparative negligence is a part of negligence law and accounts for damages that parties may have suffered when more than one party is at least partially responsible for an accident. When a claim is made, liability is first assigned to the parties and then damages that the victim has suffered will be allocated according to the fault assigned to the parties.

In Oklahoma, provided the victim is not equally at fault for causing the accident, the victim can recover damages. The amount of damages the victim may receive, however, will be reduced according to the victim's liability for the accident. In general, everyone owes each other a duty of care to prevent harm and ensure safety. When a party has failed to exercise reasonable care, and has failed to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of others, the party may be considered negligent and may be liable to any victims injured or harmed due to the party's actions.

Depending on the nature of the damages suffered, and the circumstances of the accident, auto accident victims may find physical, financial and emotional relief from the harm suffered in a car accident through a claim for damages. While it may at times seem complex, the legal system seeks to protect victims wrongfully harmed by others.

Source: Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute, "Comparative Negligence," Accessed March 23, 2015

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