When you are in an accident that results in injury, you might feel like other drivers who were involved in the case ought to pay for your injuries. The laws that govern what you can receive for an injury change from state to state. The problem is that the victim of the accident can share some of the fault, and each state will have slightly different rules governing how injured parties can go about receiving damages. These can mostly be dealt with under the headings of comparative and contributory negligence.
The Idea of Negligence
In a personal injury case, lawyers use the idea of negligence to decide who is at fault for the accident. In other words, they look at the responsibility of each driver, and whether the drivers did everything they should to avoid the accident. For example, if one driver is speeding, and the other failed to yield properly while pulling into traffic, then both drivers were guilty of negligent driving that contributed to an accident.
If the police or insurance adjusters determine that one driver was 75% at fault for an accident and the other was 25% at fault, then some states will have a law that reduces the damages a driver can receive by how much they were at fault for the accident. Thus, a driver who was injured and receives $50,000 in damages but was 25% at fault for an accident will receive $37,500 in damages. Some states will further stipulate that a driver can't be any more than 50% at fault for an accident in order to receive damages.
Some states will take a more hardline approach to awarding damages. They follow a doctrine that assumes that if a driver was at all at fault for that accident, they could have avoided the accident, and therefore, are not eligible to receive damages. This is the idea of contributory negligence.
If you are debating whether you should file for damages in a personal injury case, you should look at how much your suit will cost and how much you can hope to receive in damages. Thus, if you live in a state that enforces contributory negligence, and you are even 1% at fault for the accident, you will be wasting your time in court if you file for damages. If you live in a state that enforces comparative negligence, you should make sure you stand to win more than you will spend on your case before you file a suit. Contact a lawyer, like Richard M Altman, for more information.
If you've decided that you want to adopt a child, the first thing you should do is reach out to a family law attorney. While it may not seem logical to get an attorney involved from the start, it's important that you protect yourself legally from the beginning. After making the decision to adopt, I have been through the process several times. I created this site to help other adoptive parents understand what they can expect from the entire process, including the legal support you're likely to need. I hope this information helps you feel more confident in this major life decision.