Every personal injury case revolves around the legal concept of negligence, or a party’s failure to exercise reasonable care. A plaintiff in a personal injury claim must prove the defendant in the case failed to exercise this standard of care and directly caused the plaintiff’s claimed damages. Anyone who expects to file a personal injury claim in Oregon in the near future should take some time to understand the concept of comparative negligence and how it applies to personal injury claims.
What Is Comparative Negligence?
Oregon follows a modified comparative negligence statute. This means plaintiffs could lose a portion of their case award if the facts of the case indicate that the plaintiff contributed toward his or her damages in any way. Typically, when a plaintiff shares fault for a personal injury, the jury reviewing the case will assign the plaintiff and the defendant fault percentages based on their conduct.
Under Oregon’s modified comparative negligence law, plaintiffs may still qualify for compensation as long as their fault percentage is lower than that of the defendant. State law then subtracts a percentage of the plaintiff’s case award equal to their fault percentage. For example, in a case where the plaintiff is awarded $100,000 but is found to be 20 percent at fault, his or her net award will be reduced by 20% for a net recovery of $80,000.
Navigating Comparative Negligence Laws in a Personal Injury Claim
If a plaintiff knows that they share fault for a recent injury, it is vital that they honestly assess the facts of the situation to determine their eligibility to sue for damages. In the event that a jury finds a plaintiff more at fault than the defendant in the case, the plaintiff will not only have no way to collect compensation for their injuries but may be responsible for paying the defendant’s costs, attorney fees, and possibly compensation in the event of a counterclaim.
It is essential to find legal representation before filing a personal injury claim, even if you are entirely certain you bear no fault for the incident in question. Contact Shlesinger & deVillenueve today to schedule a free initial case evaluation with an expert personal injury attorney if you have concerns about Oregon’s modified comparative negligence law.