Imagine your vehicle is stopped at a stop sign and your seatbelt is securely fastened. Now imagine another vehicle strikes yours from behind. In this scenario, it appears you are not at fault and the other driver should assume full responsibility for their negligence. However, what if your brake lights were not functioning? Perhaps because of that, the other driver was unable to gauge that your vehicle was at a full stop. Then, who is at fault? In civil trial, a jury could find you partly to blame for the car accident.
In such circumstances, the state of Oregon follows the Modified Comparative Negligence Rule. Meaning, if you are found partly at fault your compensation may be reduced.
How Much Will My Compensation Be Reduced
The reduction of compensation will be equal to the percentage you are found to be at fault. For example, if you are found 20% responsible for the collision because your brake lights were not working, 20% will be reduced from your overall compensation. If you are found over 51% at fault, however, you will not legally be able to collect any compensation from the other party or parties.
Essentially, comparative negligence determines whether an accident is caused by one driver’s negligence more than the other. In the event that both drivers are equally at fault, Oregon law determines that both drivers would share the responsibility of the accident. For example, if two vehicles collide while backing out of two parking spots, both would be found equally responsible. Under this rule, both drivers would be responsible for covering 50% of the other driver’s damages.
In a personal injury claim, Oregon courts are required to follow this rule. It’s to be expected for a defendant to raise a comparative negligence issue when discussing settlement compensation. For this reason, be sure you have a trusted and skilled attorney on your side.
The Shlesinger & deVilleneuve Attorneys are courtroom veterans. Contact us today for trusted personal injury representation in Oregon.