All too often, individuals who have suffered physical harm as a result of a motor vehicle accident are under the impression that seeking compensation is an effort that isn’t worth their time because another driver wasn’t solely at fault for what happened. In reality, it is often still worth a crash victim’s energy to pursue justice, even if they were partially to blame for what happened to them.
Only three states in the U.S. do not permit victims of a wreck to pursue compensation from other responsible parties if they were also to blame for their injurious circumstances. Connecticut is not one of those states.
The 51 percent rule
In Connecticut, an accident victim remains entitled to pursue economic and non-economic damages from other parties – including other drivers, manufacturers of defective auto parts, etc. – as long as they are no more than 50 percent responsible for their own harm. This approach is known as both “modified comparative negligence” and “the 51 percent rule.”
When a crash victim is assigned some of the fault for a crash, the value of any compensation to which they would be entitled if they had been blameless is reduced in proportion to their blame. For example, if a victim’s harm is valued at $100,000 and they are assigned 30 percent of the fault for their circumstances, they can still pursue $70,000 from other responsible parties.
Understanding this calculus can help crash victims understand that seeking legal guidance in the wake of a wreck may be well worth their effort. Even if they aren’t entitled to as much compensation as they would be if they were blameless, they may still be entitled to a significant amount.