How Does a Jury Assign Fault?
In some cases, there may be responsibility borne by both parties for a particular accident. In these cases, it will ultimately be up to a jury to assign fault to each party involved in an accident. Many clients wonder, how does a jury assign fault in a personal injury case? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer or formula. The jury will weigh the facts of the case and the actions of those involved to come up with a percentage for each person. An attorney will work to minimize a plaintiff’s responsibility in the eyes of the jury and work to achieve the best results possible for a client.
Oregon is a modified comparative negligence state, meaning that a defendant must be at least 51% responsible for injuries in order for a plaintiff to recover damages. For instance, if two drivers on the road are drunk and they are involved in an accident, the jury might find that each party is 50% responsible for the accident. In this case, the plaintiff would recover nothing.
In another example, one person might have run a stop sign to cause an accident, but the other driver was not wearing a seat belt. In this case, the jury might find that the defendant is 85% responsible for the injuries, while the plaintiff is 15% responsible for the injuries. If the jury awarded the plaintiff $100,000, the plaintiff would collect $85,000 (85% of $100,000).
Since there is no set formula or guideline for helping a jury determine fault, it will be up to a personal injury attorney to articulate just why a defendant is mostly, if not completely, responsible for a plaintiff’s injuries. This can be the difference between getting the compensation you need to make you whole after an accident and being cut off completely from recovery.
If you have been injured in Portland or anywhere in Oregon, the attorneys at Johnson Law can help. We have helped people across the state get the money they need after an injury. For a free consultation to discuss your injuries, contact Johnson Law right away.