Question: Can I still recover for my personal injury even if I caused or contributed to the accident?
Answer: You will get tired of hearing this, but it depends. Utah law requires that the you (the injured person) be less than 50% at fault for the accident in order for you to recover from someone else. This means that if you are 50% or more at fault, you cannot recover from someone else for their share of the fault in the accident. This is called “modified comparative negligence” or “modified comparative fault.” If you read anything about “pure comparative negligence” or “pure comparative fault” or “contributary fault” or “contributary negligence,” you are reading about laws outside of Utah and those laws do not apply. Let’s look at a few examples:
Let’s look at the following fictional fact scenario, some of the legal issues involved, and how the issues change value, strategy, and settlement. Be patient; as you go through the facts see if you can identify the issues that might arise in pursuing a legal case. Here we go: a woman (we’ll call her “Sara”) was killed when the driver of a Ford F150 pickup truck (we’ll call him “Joe”) hit her while she walking across a street. Sara left behind two adult children, several grandchildren, and a boyfriend-partner that she lived with. She died without a will. She owned a small local business that dealt a lot in cash and had relatively low reported income on its tax returns.
Answer: Like much in life, it depends. If you have been injured or your loved one is gone due to the wrongful conduct of others, you likely have questions about whether it is worth pursuing a claim or how much it might be worth if you do. The question presented in this post deals with the six or so factors that the settlement or trial value will depend on.